General Motors has forced out several executives and managers, including the head of its global engine operations, after the company’s recall of vehicles in India raised questions about improper emissions tests.
GM said, on Friday, that it had dismissed the employees for violating unspecified company policies. One of the executives was Sam Winegarden, a Vice-President in charge of engine programs, who retired this week after 44 years with GM.
The management shake-up came after the Indian government began an investigation into the recall this week of 114,000 Chevrolet Tavera SUVs sold by GM in India.
The government is investigating whether GM had improperly manipulated the weight and engine performance in Tavera during emissions testing and certification.
A GM spokesman, Greg Martin, declined to say whether the employees had been forced to leave because of the government investigation.
General Motors investigation into our recall of the Chevrolet Tavera, which is built and sold exclusively in India, identified violations of company policy, GM said in a statement. GM subsequently dismissed several employees.
One person briefed on the dismissals, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said at least 10 employees, mostly in India, were involved. The highest-ranking employee was Mr. Winegarden, who was based in the United States and was the top engineer for the company’s engine operations worldwide.
The company, which said it was voluntarily recalling the vehicles, acknowledged that the Indian government was aware of an emissions issue with Tavera, one of GMs mainstream models in the country.
GM India informed Indian government authorities of an emissions issue involving the Tavera BS3 meeting certain specifications on July 19, the company said.
The company stopped production of the Tavera in India this month. It said it would make changes to vehicles built as far back as 2005 and perform the required engineering validation. It gave no timetable for notifying customers and doing the work.
The recall is a setback for GMs growth plans in India, particularly if it damages the reputation of the U.S. automaker.