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Two GM engineers put on leave as part of recall investigation

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General Motors CEO Mary Barra confirmed two engineers were placed on leave in relation to a recall of 2.6 million cars with ignition defects. (Credit: CNN)

NEW YORK — General Motors has placed two engineers on paid leave as part of the investigation into the massive recall that has been linked to at least 13 fatalities.

GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra confirmed Thursday that the engineers were placed on leave after a briefing from Anton Valukas, the former U.S. attorney overseeing an independent investigation into a recall of 2.6 million cars with ignition defects.

“This is an interim step as we seek the truth about what happened,” Barra said.

GM has traced a defect in an ignition switch to at least 13 deaths. The defect caused the car to shut off while driving, disabling the airbags, power steering and anti-lock brakes.

Now, GM is under scrutiny as to why it didn’t issue the recall years earlier.

In February, GM issued a recall of 2.6 million cars, including all years of the following models: Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac G5, Pontiac Pursuit, Saturn Ions, as well as 2006 to 2007 Chevrolet HHRs, 2006 to 2007 Pontiac Solstices and the 2007 Saturn Sky.

Meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is fining GM $7,000 a day for failing to answer 107 questions about its ignition switch recall by the April 3 deadline.

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