NEW YORK  (WWJ) – As General Motors deals with the fallout from the company’s delayed small car recall, CEO Mary Barra says she will make safety a core part of the company’s product development process.

“We know the world is watching and will judge us by our actions,” said Barra, in a speech to the JD Power National Automobile Dealers Association conference in New York.

GM, Barra said, will create a new “Global Product Integrity” organization, as part of its Product Development team.

“This new organization will build on the formula and specific actions we have taken in recent years to lead the industry in vehicle dynamics. We will mirror this approach to focus on safety performance. Our goal is to ensure the highest levels of execution consistently across all our vehicles.”

The organization will report directly to Product Development chief Mark Reuss.

The focus now, says Barra, is on finding out why the recall was delayed. She also said she agonized over the suspension of two GM engineers. As for other suspensions, Barra said she wouldn’t speculate, because these are real people with real careers.

Barra wouldn’t discuss the departure of GM public relations director Selem Bingol. She said she saw the Saturday Night Live skit that parodied her appearance before congress, but didn’t elaborate. Barra said her appearance before congress was not one of her “top 10” moments.

Replacement parts are now arriving in GM dealerships. Barra says the company is working with supplier Delphi to make sure those parts are perfect.

In the past five years, Barra says, there’s been a large cultural changes at GM. She promised “the team” would learn from this recall.

“Our focus is no longer on survival,” said Barra. “We are more focused on quality and doing what is right for the customer than at any time in my 33 years with the company.”


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