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Kenneth Feinberg, the man in charge of the General Motors compensation fund dealing with the its widespread ignition switch woes, has issued an informal, two-letter response to the plaintiffs in more than 70 lawsuits seeking redress for lost resale value of their Cobalts: "No." The cases were recently combined into one, but Feinberg told The Detroit News that the fund will deal "only with death and physical injury claims," and that "perceived diminished value" will get no consideration.
ALG, the firm specializing in establishing residual values, determined that Cobalt owners had lost $300 compared to the segment competition and doesn't envision any long-term effects from the recall situation. Feinberg's statement comes in advance of public details on how the compensation fund will work and adheres to GM's long-held position on the matter. The company has already asked a judge to throw out such suits using the pre-bankruptcy defense, even as it stopped using that defense in cases of injury and death.
With plenty of potential gain from the GM suit, however, don't expect the plaintiffs to give up yet. When Toyota was sued for the same reason during the unintended acceleration debacle, it eventually settled the case for between $1 billion and $1.4 billion just to get it over with. Since the 85 law firms involved in the Toyota litigation took home more than $250 million of that total, we shouldn't expect the attorneys to give up on a GM payout, either.
Full Disclosure: in my younger days, I loved nothing more than tormenting passengers with my behind-the-wheel hijinks. Once, after a particularly artful handbrake turn on a two-lane at around 50 miles per hour, I left one backseat occupant crying in their own lap. This isn't necessarily something to be proud of, but it gives you a glimpse into why it is that I find this ad from Pepsi so damn disappointing. The premise is beautiful. Take NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon, give him a disguise and set him loose upon some unsuspecting used car dealer. Hilarity ensues.
Except that this Pepsi Max commercial is so obviously staged, it can't help but feel like some ham-fisted marketing fail. From the strategically placed aftermarket cupholder mounted mid-dash for the hidden camera to the fact that the supposed dealer Camaro is displayed as a 2009 model (Hint: Chevrolet didn't make any), this clip is about as organic as a Twinkie. Still, we would never turn down a chance to watch Gordon thrash on a rental-spec coupe - only problem is, he probably didn't even do the driving himself. Check it out below.
General Motors hadn't had a recall in India since 1995. That changed when it was discovered that certain employees were playing tricks with local emissions testing in order to ensure passing grades for engines. More than ten GM Powertrain employees in India and the US have been let go over the ensuing emissions flap, including Sam Winegarden, VP of global engine engineering, a man who has been with the company since 1969, leading development of some marquee powerplants.
According to Automotive News, an internal investigation revealed that employees "violated testing procedures," sometimes swapping specially prepared low-emissions engines during testing regimes for the Chevrolet Tavera SUV equipped with the 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter engines. Employees were also manipulating weights in order to get vehicles placed into different emissions categories. The discovery has led to GM recall the 114,000 Taveras produced over an eight-year period and halting their production and sale.
The Economic Times of India reports that the issue is due to "a faulty component." GM has developed a solution to the issue, and once it is validated in testing and approved by the Indian authorities, the recalled vehicles will be fixed at dealers and production will resume.