It was a total catastrophe, with multi-day appearances on Capitol Hill by CEO Mary Barra, over $1 billion in repair damages (including a few other recalls, admittedly) and overwhelmingly negative publicity. And people died.
What a disaster.
Sure, the automaker has had a few other recalls since the incident, but over the past few weeks it's been relatively quiet. Smaller recalls lately have included 59,000 Saturns, 8,500 Buick LaCrosses and Chevrolet Malibus, and 50,000 Cadillac SRXs for various reasons. But wait. It gets worse.Just when investors thought the stock was brushing off bad news and may have formed a temporary bottom, the company recalls 2.7 million more vehicles. The issue is centered around "tail lamp malfunctions." The company acknowledged that is aware of 13 crashes, but thankfully, no fatalities. GM also recalled about 250,000 other vehicles due to a slew of problems ranging from windshield wipers to headlights, plus several other smaller complications. All of this boils down to a $200 million charge for the second quarter. But that's not the issue here. $200 million can be absorbed, sure. It's not until it's tacked on to everything else that it becomes a heavy burden for shareholders. Consider that in the first quarter, General Motors took charges of $1.3 billion, $400 million and $300 million, due to recalls, currency swings and restructuring efforts. That $2 billion list of charges just increased another 10% due to the latest round of recalls. This doesn't surprise me, as I've been saying that there is more bad news on the way from General Motors. It's only May 16, a mere 136 days or 37% into 2014. How much more bad news will GM release? What other recalls, restructuring, and currency issues are still unannounced? How much will investors have to take?