Global GM Powertrain Head Fired Over Indian Emissions-Fixing Scandal

Due to allegedly fraudulent procedures including swapping in entire low-emission engines to pass regulations in India, General Motors has dismissed its global powertrain executive and about 10 other employees in the U.S. and India.

The ousting of Sam Winegarden, GM’s vice president for global engine engineering, followed a Wednesday recall in of 114,000 Chevrolet Tavera utility vehicle from model year 2005-2013 with 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter engines. The Tavera is exclusively an Indian market car.

The recall is to address non-safety related emissions and other specification problems and was preceded by a production halt on June 4. The company says it has already “identified a solution to the issues and performed the required engineering validation, and is awaiting regulatory approvals.”

Prior to the move to clean house, the Economic Times of India reported yesterday that it had become an egregious state of affairs between certain Indian regulators and employees of GM of India.

GM reportedly admitted to government officials that GM employees willfully faked emissions inspections to pass standards.

“Over a period of time some employees of the company engaged in the practice of identifying engines with lower emission which were fine-tuned and kept aside to be used for installation on vehicles during inspection,” according to the Economic Times citing a July 18 letter to Indian regulators.

Also admitted by GM to regulators, according to the Economic Times, were that several models saw their weight “manipulated” so as to qualify for less stringent emission requirements.

GM could be subject to penalties and fines, and it has set up a committee to investigate. The recall was described as one of the all-time largest in India, and it was the first since 1995 for GM.

Winegarden oversaw engine development and production not just for Indian market cars, but GM products world wide.

He’d been at the top since 2004 and had worked his way through the ranks since joining GM as a co-op student at the Buick Motor Division while attending General Motors Institute, now Kettering University in 1969.

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