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GM braces for more Capitol Hill grilling over safety issues

US carmaker General Motors is facing more intense questioning by a House of Representatives committee over the safety crisis that has hit the firm this year. The grilling comes shortly after yet another recall.

GM Chief Executive Mary Barra's latest turn in the congressional hot seat on Wednesday comes just days after her company recalled GM recalls more faulty carsmore than three million additional vehicles# with what appeared to be a separate ignition defect.

GM has already issued 44 recalls this year totaling about 20 million cars worldwide which is more than the company's total annual sales on the home market. Faulty ignition switches in older Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn lons and other GM models have been linked to at least 13 deaths.

The auto maker has portrayed the latest recall as the product of its thorough review of all safety issues since the ignition switch problems were first announced in February.

Victims in focus

For the Wednesday hearing, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton wants "straight and honest answers" about what got GM into the mess and how the company is fixing it.

"GM's work to restore drivers' confidence is far from over," Upton told Reuters news agency.

CEO Mary Barra is expected to tell Congress that the processing of victims' claims related to faulty ignition switches will begin by early August. Kenneth Feinberg, who is overseeing the creation of a special compensation fund, will have "full authority to establish eligible criteria for victims and determine compensation levels," a prepared testimony said.

hg/nz (Reuters, AFP)

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