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This is a very risky stance by the company. Ignoring or fighting a request from NHTSA puts the company at a big disadvantage in any lawsuits regarding deaths or injuries in these vehicles. Most jurors hearing that the company fought recalling the vehicles after the Govt declared that they had a problem, will vote big compensation to the (alleged) victims. In the end, this decision will end up costing the company way more in compensation to victims and fees to lawyers than working with the NHTSA to find a relatively inexpensive fix, such as a plastic shield that other companies have installed for similar problems (like Ford on their police interceptors).

A prolonged fight with NHTSA over this where the company is constantly in the news won't do much for the GC's reputation either - think "Ford Pinto".
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