March 18 - In an effort to protect its corporate image and address safety problems, General Motors' issues a major mea culpa and appoints a new executive to oversee safety. But it may not be enough. Jeanne Yurman reports.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL General Motors is trying to get a grip on safety issues and protect its corporate image. Last month it recalled over one and half million vehicles for a faulty ignition switch linked to 12 deaths that it acknowledged. Safety groups say the number is much higher. Since then it has proactively issued three more recalls and a company video with CEO Mary Barra offering a major corporate mea culpa. SOUNDBITE: MARY BARRA, CEO, GENERAL MOTORS SAYING (ENGLISH): "Something went wrong in our process in this instance terrible things happened." Barra acknowledged GM's problems and their fixes. And GM appointed insider Jeff Boyer as vice president of global vehicle safety on Tuesday. All smart moves says Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst at Edmund's.com. SOUNDBITE: JESSICA CALDWELL, SENIOR ANALYST, EDMUNDS.COM SAYING (ENGLISH): "I think General Motors having that level of transparency and being very honest about what happened is a good sign for most consumers because at end of the day they want to buy a car from a company they trust. And they made mistakes but they're trying not to do them anymore. I think it will be a message that resonates with a lot of people that are looking to buy a new car." But GM's problems are far from over. Lawsuits have been filed and analysts say there may be more recalls. Plus Congress is looking taking a deeper look at what's going on at GM. For a company that was already trying to shake the nickname "Government Motors" hearings on the Hill could trip up GM's PR efforts says Professor Irv Schenkler of New York University's Stern School of Business. SOUNDBITE: IRVING SCHENKLER, PROFESSOR, NYU STERN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS SAYING (ENGLISH): "The closer they come to midterm elections the more likely it is that some members of the inquiry committee will see an opportunity to project themselves or their constituencies to hammer on the poor judgment of the Obama administration to bail out General Motors." Many corporate executives are like fish out of water on Capitol Hill. However, analysts say Barra has an excellent reputation as being honest and respected and if anyone can shepherd GM's image in a positive way, she can.