General Motors has placed two engineers, Ray DeGiorgio and Gary Altman, on paid leave for their roles leading to the recall of 2.59 million small cars with defective ignition switches tied to at least 13 deaths.
Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra said in a statement on the company’s website that two engineers had been placed on leave following a briefing from Anton Valukas, the former U.S. attorney overseeing an independent investigation into circumstances leading to the recall.
The statement didn’t name the engineers.
“This is an interim step as we seek the truth about what happened,” Barra said. “It was a difficult decision, but I believe it is best for GM.”
Separately, GM said it has to repair another part on the 2.6 million small cars already being recalled for an ignition switch defect. GM said it expects to take a charge of $1.3 billion in the first quarter, up from an earlier estimate of $750 million. GM has announced recalls covering 6.3 million vehicles, and offered loaner cars for some customers who are awaiting repairs.
GM said it will replace ignition lock cylinders on all of the cars to make sure drivers can’t remove the keys while the engine is running. It also may reprogram some keys.
GM knows of one related injury due to the defect.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.