It's a problem the world's largest automaker more or less now concedes is to blame for at least 31 crashes and 13 deaths.
But for 10 years, GM simply sat on the problem.
Tonight in Tom's Corner, our Tom Van Howe wonders what in the world has happened to outrage.
Maybe we're just numb. But the last century was replete with people standing up and shouting about what they thought was wrong, unjust, unfair, and demanding action.
But not so much anymore. The voices of outrage have turned into whispers.
Maybe its because the new century began with the war in Iraq--as completely misguided vengeance for the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
We were told by experts there were no weapons of mass destruction there, and there weren't. The 9/11 hijackers were Saudi Arabian...not Iraqi.
If one objected, that person was unpatriotic.
Then Afghanistan. Death, destruction, and torture--something we believed we didn't do.
Now we know that we did. Enthusiastically.
Then came the drones, raining death on both terrorists and wedding parties. We worry they'll be used on us to watch, listen, and record.
And why not worry? Credit the fugitive whistle-blower Edward Snowden for tipping us off on the incredible reach of the national security agency.
We live in a world where almost nothing is private.
We endlessly debate immigration reform in a Congress that accomplishes almost nothing. Its no wonder Congress has an approval rating of about 10 percent.
Meantime we're breaking up families on a daily basis--deporting record numbers of people back to Mexico.
We continue extolling our right to bear arms while gun violence continues haunting the streets of our cities.
We don't vote much anymore. In off-year elections roughly 15 percent of us make decisions for all the rest.
Big money is completely taking over the battle for free and equal speech. Its no longer free nor equal.
Wall street continues unregulated. And while the way we pay for healthcare has people on the right apoplectic, no one talks much about the high-and-still-soaring cost of healthcare.
So maybe its just domestic battle fatigue that has people shrugging their shoulders about the way General Motors shirked a life-and-death responsibility for a full decade.
Executives in Detroit knew back in 2004 there was an ignition switch problem in Chevy Cobalts and HHR's, and in Pontiac G7s, Pursuits, and Solstices, and Saturn Ions and Skys.
They knew before and after their bankruptcy and the ensuing bailout that if the switches were jarred or if the key had too heavy a ring on it, it could malfunction and turn off the engine--leaving the driver without air brakes, power steering, or operable airbags.
Result? A documented 31 crashes and 13 deaths.
Consumer Reports says there have been more than 300 deaths in GM cars with undeployed air bags.
And none of it should have happened. None of it.
This is a company kept alive by the American people who in return were given a hand gesture.
Has it made me angry? Absolutely. I feel as though I've been had. Trouble is, I don't know what to do with my anger.
Ever since the Supreme Court said corporations are people too, its taken the wind out of my sails.
I want to shout at somebody. I want to punch somebody.
But neither option seems very effective against one of the largest corporations. And how do you punch a corporation anyway?
Maybe if I ignore it...it'll all just go away.
In this corner, I'm Tom Van Howe.