DENVER - General Motors' recalls of 1.6 million cars with potentially fatal flaws will face a congressional investigation led, in part, by a Colorado congresswoman.
The cars have a faulty ignition switch that could cause them to switch off while on the road.
The faulty switches led to 31 crashes and at least 12 deaths, Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colorado) said during a Friday morning press conference.
"If one of my two daughters had this car, I would tell her to park it," she said.
DeGette is the ranking Democrat on the Oversight Investigation Subcommittee of Energy and Commerce in the House of Representatives. That subcommittee, which has the power to subpoena witnesses and take testimony under oath, will be holding a hearing Tuesday about the ignition switches and General Motors' actions.
"So far there are serious questions emerging about what GM knew, when GM knew it and when it informed the public," the congresswoman said. "We knew they believed about the ignition issues to some extent by 2001, and for sure by 2005, but why did they take so long to alert investigators and the public?"
She also explained that General Motors changed the design of the part in 2006, but did not change the serial number.
"This means -- because they didn't change the serial number -- that nobody, not safety investigators, not the public and not even GM can tell the difference between a faulty switch and a fixed one," she said. "Why did this happen and why did GM hide the problem?"
The GM recall includes:
-2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt
-2007 Pontiac G5
-2003-2007 Saturn Ion
-2006-2007 Chevrolet HHR
-2006-7 Pontiac Solstice
-2007 Saturn Sky
In those vehicles, DeGette explained, the weight of the other keys on a key ring or a bump from the driver's knee could cause the car to turn off.
"If you have one of those vehicles, park it," said Danny Katz, director of the Colorado Public Interest Research Group.
The subcommittee is chaired by Pennsylvania Rep. Tim Murphy, a Republican. Representatives of General Motors will be among those who testify before the committee on Tuesday.