In its quarterly filing [PDF] with the Securities and Exchange Commission, GM cited ongoing investigations by Justice Dept., an attorney general of an unnamed state, and the SEC itself.
“Various legal actions, governmental investigations, claims and proceedings are pending against us,” writes the company.
Specific to the ignition defect and subsequent recall, GM writes that it “has resulted in government inquiries and private litigation and our sales and reputation could suffer.”
In addition to the ongoing Congressional probe that has unearthed mountains of documents highlighting a culture of ignorance and ineptitude at GM (and NHTSA, which failed to fully investigate the string of fatal crashes tied to this recall), GM writes of “various inquiries, investigations, subpoenas and requests for information” made by DOJ — more precisely, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the southern district of New York — the SEC, and that vague attorney general.
Though the car company doesn’t disclose details of those requests, it does say it is “investigating these matters internally and believe we are cooperating fully with all requests, notwithstanding NHTSA’s recent fines for failure to respond,” writes the company. “Such investigations could in the future result in the imposition of damages, fines or civil and criminal penalties.”
GM is also currently facing 55 different lawsuits related to the defect, along with another five suits filed in Canada. As we’ve reported, the company is asking a federal bankruptcy court to block all lawsuits that don’t involve driver who were in accidents in the recalled vehicles.
As part of GM’s bankruptcy restructuring in 2009, it was able to shed liability for non-accident claims tied to vehicles made pre-bankruptcy. However, plaintiffs suing the company maintain that GM’s failure to issue a recall on a defect it had know about for a dozen years means that GM is still liable.
In addition to the legal and regulatory hassles associated with this high-profile recall, GM writes that it has a huge publicity problem on its hands.
“If we are unable to effectively maintain our reputation as a result of a failure to promptly implement safety measures, such as recalls when necessary, vehicle unit sales and/or sale prices may decrease,” writes the company.
The defect isn’t the only problem on GM’s plate, as it admitted to facing investigations on a variety of topics, including “employment-related matters; governmental regulations relating to safety, emissions and fuel economy; product warranties; financial services; dealer, supplier and other contractual relationships; tax-related matters… and environmental matters.”