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Fed gov't announces $35M fine for General Motors

(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The federal government has announced a huge fine for General Motors, and at the same time Friday, the automaker issued its sixth recall this week.

GM will be fined $35 million, after the government says it was too slow to recall 2.5 million small cars with faulty ignition switches.

The fine represents the largest civil fine ever paid as a result of a government investigation of violations stemming from recalls.

General Motors has acknowledged knowing about the problem for at least a decade, but it didn't recall the cars until this year.

The company says at least 13 people have died in crashes linked to the problem.

GM also added Friday that it will be recalling about 8,200 more mid-size cars to fix a problem with the front brakes.

It's the sixth recall announced by the company this week, and the 24th this year.

The latest recall affects 2014 Buick Lacrosse and Chevrolet Malibu models.

GM says the rear brake rotors were mistakenly installed on the front.

As far as the delay in recalling, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Friday that GM "failed to meet their public safety obligations."

"Automakers on notice that there is no excuse and zero tolerance for failing to notify the federal government when a defect puts safety at risk. And to make that point clearer, DOT has sent the Grow America Act up to Capitol Hill which would raise the maximum penalty for offenses like this from $35 million to $300 million," Foxx said in a statement Friday.

GM will also be working under additional oversight from the Transportation Department.

CEO Mary Barra said Friday: "we will emerge from this situation a stronger company."

Michigan Congressman Fred Upton also weighed in on the penalties levied Friday, issuing the following statement:

When it comes to vehicle safety, a matter of life and death, there is no margin for error. GM's admission that it failed to follow the law is an important milestone, but our investigation into how the system failed is far from over. We continue to gather documents and interview key players involved in the ignition recall to determine why it took so long to connect the dots and take action. What should have been a maximum of five days to report took years, and people died as a result.

When we wrote the TREAD Act over a decade ago in response to Ford-Firestone, we inserted criminal fines into the law to make it clear that mistakes and delays will not be tolerated. Today's record penalty sends a strong message that nothing is more important than safety. There are still many unanswered questions, and we must first fully understand how and why the system broke down to determine the necessary action to ensure the public's faith is restored and this never happens again."