Asbestos Manufacturers: General Motors

Posted on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016 at 10:30 am    

General Motors: History

Asbestos Manufacturers: General Motors

Asbestos Manufacturers: General Motors

General Motors was established in 1908 as a group of more than twenty companies that were automakers. The twenty companies included Chevrolet and Cadillac. The company was set up as a competitor and rival to Ford Motor Company.

General Motors expanded its business through acquiring automobile part manufacturers as subsidiaries and even went so far as to expand into other industries, unrelated to automobiles. One example is their acquisition of Delco Appliance Corporation, which produced boilers and other electric products. From the 1930s, Delco Appliance Corporation produced the Delco Heat Harmonized Boiler which featured air-cell asbestos insulation.

In assistance to the World War II efforts, General Motors produced tanks, naval ships, weapons and fighting planes. After the war, in the 1950s it continued the manufacture of automobiles and focused on innovation. They are credited with creating the automatic gear box and are said to have designed the power steering.

General Motors: Financial decline and lawsuits

From the 1970s onward, the company suffered financial decline as a result of competition, air pollution fines and product redesign costs. To add to their financial woes, because the company produced and bought parts containing asbestos from other companies, they were named in thousands of asbestos injury lawsuits.

The majority of the lawsuits against the company came from asbestos containing products they made, like brake lining and clutch facing. By 2009, they were liable for about six hundred and thirty six million dollars ($636 million) in asbestos claims. Hence, they were forced to file bankruptcy. After filing for bankruptcy, they received a government bailout and emerged from bankruptcy in the same year.

The debt incurred by the ‘old General Motors’ was transferred to Motors Liquidation Company including their asbestos claims liability. In April 2012, the Motors Liquidation Company Asbestos PI Trust was opened to settle current and future asbestos related claims.


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