GM must hate you...but we Luv ya.
LOL...maybe, but it would be nice if this sparked a culture change within GM to expand their research into problems like this beyond just the Warranty Database information. I firmly believe that this problem was the result of two things.
The first is Old GM wanting to ignore recall type issues. My reasoning is look at the ignition switch recall. That problem was far more dangerous than ours, allegedly resulted in over 170 deaths, affected a LOT more cars, and even it was swept under the rug. If something like that was ignored then it is no surprise our 91,000 problem units which resulted in no reported deaths or injuries certainly would be too.
But, assuming NEW GM with it's watchdogs is beyond all that, the second issue is relying on that Warranty Database as the end all be all metric for discovering potential problems. Here GM had a part that, by 2010, was being recalled in another car GM manufactured, a car which had parts and technology from it put into the Kappa, and was being recalled in other "non-identical" designs by other manufacturers around the world. That information alone should have sparked someone to say "Hey, maybe these sensor mats in general might have a problem we need to address."
I love the quote from GM in that article: "These issues with the sensor mats are not new, they're not unique to these vehicles, and they're not unique to GM." Now, the reason I love this quote is because when you look at GM's reasoning for NOT investigating the Kappa further when the CTS had the recall was because they claimed the IEE mat in the CTS was unique to that car, no other car in GM's production used that mat and thus the issue didn't affect any other car GM produced. NOW they come back and claim "Well, these issue's aren't new and it's not just limited to us."
Had these factors been taken into consideration and had they sparked GM to investigate further the Kappa mats due to the complaints they were getting on the mats, I firmly believe by 2011 or 2012 GM would have discovered this issue and initiated the recall then.
I hope GM and the VERY understaffed NHTSA learns from this and that the NHTSA watchdogs that monitor GM be sure to expand their potential problem investigations beyond just the Warranty Repair system.
I firmly believe that NHTSA's Office of Defect Investigation (ODI...I think that's what ODI stands for) needs a bigger budget, a bigger staff, and needs the ability to analyze potential problems much like NSWC Corona does for Navy systems. Let's face it, this is the whole reason why NSWC Corona exists. We analyze systems for the Navy independent of manufacturers and the Navy institutions that are pushing for these systems. It is set up this way because it is believed that if left up to those who build or want the system, potential problems may be covered up or ignored due to the conflict of interest. A properly funded and staffed independent assessment agency would be able to uncover stuff like this.