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GM CEO Faces Recall Questions Carrying Corvair-Era Legacy

When General Motors Co.’s Mary Barra begins Congressional hearings tomorrow as an emissary of what she’s portrayed as a more responsive GM, she will face down decades of skepticism -- plus fresh indications that the automaker decided it would be too expensive to fix the flawed ignition switches behind several deadly crashes.

GM’s history of contentious battles over vehicle safety stretch back 50 years to the Corvair. The automaker’s reluctance to go public with costly fixes continued into the past decade as it studied ignition-switch failures in the Chevrolet Cobalt but declined to make them, according to documents released yesterday U.S. congressional investigators.