Page Updated: June 16, 2019

General Motors

Based out of Detroit, Michigan, General Motors (GM) creates, manufactures, and distributes both vehicles and vehicle parts across the world. The company is currently among the largest in unit vehicle sales and once held the title for the longest time period of global vehicle sales: 77 years.

However, the company’s long association in the past with both using asbestos in its parts and buying third-party, asbestos-containing parts, has led to a string of lawsuits. In fact, GM faced so many asbestos-related claims and lawsuits that it filed for bankruptcy and established a trust fund to help compensate pending and future cases.

If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, or asbestos-related lung cancer, keep in mind that you may be eligible for substantial compensation. There is currently over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, set up for victims to asbestos-related diseases. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more. 

General Motors Logo

GM History

The history of General Motors began when William C. Durant, owner of Buick Motors, wanted to incorporate numerous automakers into one company. In 1908, Durant lived out his wish when he bought more than 20 companies and established all of them under the name of GM. At the time, Ford Motor Company was one the leading vehicle business, and GM was set up to directly compete with it.

A little after 1918, Durant lost control of GM when the market for vehicles crashed. Alfred P. Slogan, a business executive, replaced Durant and acquired seven Chevrolet-managed manufacturing plants. In turn, GM’s business picked up substantially over the next several decades.

In addition to vehicles, the company began manufacturing and selling vehicle parts. During World War II, it began making ships, weapons, tanks, and airplanes.

During the 1960s, GM varied its business by adding in subsidiaries that included insurance, electronics, trains, banking, and financing. Although the company initially fared well, a market shift made it difficult for GM to meet all of the demands.

During the 1970s, competition with other vehicle manufacturers, such as Japan’s smaller, more efficient vehicles, also caused a financial stir. The bulkier GM cars became known as “gas guzzlers” and contributors to air pollution. Consequently, the company lost around 35% in sales and was fined close to $5 billion for pollution regulations.

GM spent most of the 1980s trying to redesign its models, but by the early 1990s it had already lost close to $60 billion. The company’s losses began mounting further when former employees and contractors began filing asbestos-related claims.

The lawsuits and claims stemmed from GM’s use of asbestos in a variety of its products and via purchasing asbestos-containing products from other business. The led to employees, contractors, and consumers developing fatal diseases, such as malignant mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer.

GM Lawsuits and Bankruptcy

GM faced numerous asbestos-related claims, yet most of the cases stemmed from employee and contractors who worked with and around the company’s clutch facings and brake linings.  As the claims continued to surface, GM faced over $636 million in asbestos-related cases by 2009.

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy shortly after, which included a reorganization plan and the establishment of an asbestos trust fund to compensate future and pending claimants.

When GM emerged from bankruptcy, debt from all asbestos-related claims transferred to the Motors Liquidation Company. In turn, in 2012, the The Motors Liquidation Company Asbestos PI Trust was created. A total of around $625 million was placed into the fund to compensate asbestos claimants.

Occupations Affected by GM

Since GM’s products were mass produced and used frequently, thousands of workers across numerous occupations were placed at high risk for developing an asbestos-related disease, including:

  • Vehicle mechanics
  • Auto parts installers
  • Factory workers
  • Warehouse workers
  • Brake assemblers
  • Clutch assemblers

GM’s Asbestos-containing Products

Up until the early 1980s, GM not only bought asbestos-containing parts from other companies, but also used the deadly set of minerals in an array of its own products, including:

  • Disc and drum brakes
  • Automatic transmissions
  • Adhesives
  • Engines
  • Gaskets
  • Manual transmissions
  • Frigidaire appliances
  • Delco-Heat appliances and boilers
  • Clutch linings
  • Brake linings
  • Locomotive brake shoes

GM Today

GM is still in business today and continues to make vehicles of all shapes and sizes. The company has paid back $49.5 billion that it received from the government in 2009, and no longer uses asbestos in any of its products.

Additional Resources and Information for Asbestos Victims

If you’ve been injured by asbestos, there is a good chance that you’ll qualify for considerable compensation. Remember to fill out our form to get your free Financial Compensation Packet, with information on asbestos and mesothelioma lawyers in your area. If you have questions or need additional assistance, contact us at 800-793-4540.