GM dealers learn more about recalls - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

GM dealers learn more about recalls

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(04/02/14) - It was another day of tough questions and harsh criticism for General Motors CEO Marry Barra.

There were times Wednesday when the questions directed at Barra were rather pointed and angry.

Some of those who watched say she's handling the pressure well. Others were reluctant to talk about it.

GM's vice president of North America Manufacturing, Gerald Johnson, spoke at the annual Flint and Genesee Chamber of Commerce annual meeting.

Johnson was in town to talk about a new program GM is launching in the Flint area called GM Student Corps. Ten students from Flint Southwestern Classical Academy will work on community service projects this summer.

Johnson is a GMI-Kettering University grad and at one time lived in the Flint area. He tip-toed around the recall issue when we spoke with him after the dinner.

"Mary's an outstanding CEO. She's handling it quite well I think," he said.

Also at the dinner was Joe Serra, who owns several GM dealerships around the country.

"I personally think Mary's doing an outstanding job. I don't think there's not an individual who would want to be in that position. I think she's very sincere in her answers. She's been very transparent," he said.

When Barra was pressed by senators for answers, she often told them there's an internal investigation happening at GM and she doesn't have the information right now.

"I think she's answering based upon the best of her ability and I give her an awful lot of credit," Serra said.

"GM's doing fine, doing fine. We'll be there doing what we have to do for our customers, make sure we understand what's going on and how we can improve the process," Johnson said.

GM dealers are learning more about how the recall is progressing, and they say a number of their customers are parking their recalled cars and asking for loaners or rentals.

The first of the replacement parts should start arriving at GM dealerships next week, but owners will have to be patient.

"It's going to take some time. There's a lot of vehicles out there that need some attention. We're going to receive some of the parts as early as the 7th of April," Serra said.

Then it could be several weeks before all the ignition switches have been installed.

"If someone just uses their key and takes their keychains off, that's what most people are doing and they shouldn't have a problem," said Chris Graff, of Graff Chevrolet.

"We need to have from the consumer the VIN number in order to order the part. So there are a few things that have to happen. We need the cooperation of everybody on this," Serra said.

Some cars are not driveable because of problems with the ignition switch. Other drivers may be worried that the car could stop running while they're behind the wheel.

"If anyone's not comfortable driving that car, General Motors is making arrangements for rental cars to be provided to those customers," Graff said.

General Motors recognizes the way it handled the recall is giving the automaker a black eye. So, it's taking unprecedented steps to calm the jittery nerves of customers.

"GM has put more tools in our tool box as far as taking care of customers than any other recall I've ever seen. From my perspective, GM has been wonderful," Graff said.

"General Motors has done a wonderful job with us as far as communication goes. And what I mean by that is they told us right from the onset these are the vehicles, this is where we're at in terms of parts, when you should expect them, here's how long of a gap it's going to be before we get all of the parts in," Serra said.

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