General Motors fires employees over Indian recall

NEW DELHI (AFP) -- General Motors (GM) has fired "several employees" after violations of company policy led to the recall of 114,000 of its Chevrolet Tavera sport-utility vehicles in India.

The recall of the popular models, announced on Wednesday, came after GM employees reportedly swapped engines in new Tavera models for lower-emission engines to meet standards. It is one of the largest ever vehicle recalls in India.

"Several employees" were dismissed after an internal investigation "identified violations of company policy", the company said in an e-mail to AFP. The Detroit-based automaker did not disclose the nature of the violations or specify the number of employees dismissed but said GM takes "these matters very seriously and hold our leaders and employees to high standards".

"When those standards are not met, we will take the appropriate action to hold employees accountable," the company said.

A GM official declined to comment on a report by Automotive News that Mr Sam Winegarden, vice-president for global engine engineering, and around 10 other employees in the United States and India had been let go over the tests. Mr Winegarden oversaw the production of engines across GM's vehicle range.

Media reports said GM employees misled government officials about emissions results on the Tavera, built and sold only in India, to meet standards. The vehicles under recall were sold between 2005 and 2013.

GM India president Lowell Paddock told India's Economic Times newspaper in an interview published on Saturday the company identified the problem in June and "immediately consulted our parent and agreed on a recall".

GM wrote to Indian regulators earlier in July that "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", the Economic Times reported.

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