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updated: 6/6/2014 8:52 AM

What's next in the General Motors recall case

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  • General Motors CEO Mary Barra addresses employees at the automaker's vehicle engineering center in Warren, Mich., Thursday.

      General Motors CEO Mary Barra addresses employees at the automaker's vehicle engineering center in Warren, Mich., Thursday.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

General Motors on Thursday released the results of an internal investigation into the delayed recall of 2.6 million cars with faulty ignition switches. But the 315-page report doesn't bring the issue to a close. Here's what's still to come in the ongoing recall case:

-- CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION: The U.S. Justice Department is investigating GM's conduct and may bring criminal charges. GM's case is being investigated by the same team that got Toyota to agree to a $1.2 billion penalty for hiding unintended acceleration problems. That investigation lasted four years. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is also investigating whether GM took too long to tell investors about the defective switches.

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-- CONGRESSIONAL ACTION: Two congressional subcommittees promised to call GM CEO Mary Barra back to Washington for further hearings after GM released its report. At hearings in April, Barra repeatedly said she couldn't answer questions because the internal investigation wasn't finished.

-- COMPENSATION: GM has hired compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg to determine how to compensate victims' families. Feinberg said last week that he hasn't yet settled any cases and is waiting for GM to decide on its options.

-- LAWSUITS: Lawyers say they have at least 400 possible death and injury claims against GM related to the switches. Owners whose cars have lost value have also sued GM in various federal courts. GM has asked the bankruptcy court in New York to shield it from problems that happened before its 2009 bankruptcy.

-- RECALLS: Barra gave new safety chief Jeff Boyer the mandate to look into other safety issues that should have resulted in recalls. That has prompted a record number of recalls. So far this year, GM has recalled 15.8 million vehicles in North America. More are likely.

-- REPAIRS: GM began repairing the ignition switches in April, and has repaired 113,000 so far. It expects to have all of its replacement switches made by Oct. 4, and will likely finish the repairs that month. The company expects to pay $1.7 billion to repair all the vehicles recalled so far this year.

-- COMPANY CHANGES: The report recommends several changes, some that GM already has in place. For instance, the safety chief has direct access to the CEO and board, and Barra is promoting a program that urges workers to speak up if they see a safety issue and not to be afraid to classify items as safety problems. In the past, GM trained workers not to use words like "safety defect" in writing because it could cause legal problems later.

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