How General Motors Re-Engineered the Dictionary

How General Motors Re-Engineered the Dictionary

General Motors instructed its engineers to soften the language they used in reporting possible mechanical problems.

The company discouraged words including “safety” and “defect” when describing product risks and even explicitly told them to avoid using terms such as “widow-maker” and “Hindenburg.” Documents used during a 2008 technical learning symposium were released by the U.S. government, exposing a dangerous corporate culture that frowns on finding potentially costly flaws.

Yesterday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration slapped GM with a $35 million fine – the maximum allowable penalty – for its delayed response to the ignition switch recall.

SEE ALSO: GM Fined $35M for Dawdling on Ignition Switch Recall

Examples found in the documents include GM advising its engineers to use “does not perform to design” rather than “defect” and “condition” instead of “problem.” General Motors has issued a statement stating that the company’s culture has changed since the 2008 training session and has cited a program GM it has put in to encourage candid conversation about safety issues among GM engineers.

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[Source: Automotive News]

  • markpetersonii

    Am I the only one that laughed at almost every single one of those?

  • Tim

    Aaaaaand that just made my resolve all the more firm to never buy american, specifically GM. Garbage products, garbage policies, garbage company.

  • Jeff T

    What previous GM reports are using these words?! haha

  • Hajime Kishi

    Titanic … I’d love my car to be Titanic.

  • Rickers

    This list is amazing. The best is “Cobain”

  • lalaland

    Sadly, the last and only GM car I owned “did not perform to design.”

  • markpetersonii

    What really piques my interest is my wondering of which vehicle was “Corvair-like.” hahaha

  • Brad

    HAHAHAH Rolling sarcophagus