General Motors released a comprehensive list that indicates every GM recall issued from just Q1 and Q2 of 2014. According to the list, the complete GMNA (General Motors North America) recall amounts to a disturbing figure of 15,809,846 units. Vehicles affected by recall are 13.7 million in the United States alone.

- - - GM Recall List A comprehensive General Motors recall list reveals 15.8 million cars are affected by a recall. WardsAuto

The 15.8 million cars' worth of GM recalls cover a wide spectrum of issues, which range from inaccurate fuel gauge rating in the 2014 Chevy Traverse as well as power steering issues in the 2010 Chevy HHR. Of course, the most controversial General Motors recall of all is the ignition switch defect that affects GM small cars including the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion. Investigations revealed that GM knew about the defect for years but did not issue a recall. What's more, 13 deaths have been linked to the defect. NHTSA is fining General Motors $35 million for the abysmal manner they have handled the defect. 

To be exact, GM documents submitted to the NHTSA revealed that the automaker was first aware that switches could unexpectedly move out of position back in 2001. The ignition switch defect could cause the engine to shut off, disable the power steering and power brakes, as well as disable the front airbags.

General Motors has also conducted its own internal investigation to figure out why it took the automaker so long to address the serious defect. After a three-month probe, U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas issued a 300-page report and GM CEO Mary Barra stood at a Detroit town hall meeting to address Valuka's findings. What's more, Barra announced that 15 GM top-level employees were fired for their irresponsibility and incompetence amid the desperate need to address the recalls.

"A disproportionate number of those were in senior roles or executives," CEO Mary Barra said. In fact, switch engineer Ray DeGiorgio and development engineer Gary Altman, two high-ranking engineers previously put on paid leave, were among the 15 that are terminated.

"A unique series of mistakes was made," Barra said. The main mistake was that engineers wrongly determined the issue as a matter of owner satisfaction rather than not safety. GM engineers did not realize the switch failures would cut power from the airbags as well.

"I wish I could," answered Barra when asked to explain how this mistake could happen. "It was a mis-diagnosis."

Finally, GM CEO Barra vowed that General Motors will compensate "everyone who has lost a loved one or suffered a serious injury" as a result of the defect. The amount of the compensation is not disclosed. Claims for compensation will begin Aug. 1.

Despite GM's commitment to righting its past mistakes, the automotive giant desperately requires a systematic change to insure catastrophes of this magnitude never happen again. GM admitted that select personnel were aware of the ignition switch defect since 2001 but the auto company failed to recognize the issue for more than a decade. No doubt, the lack of communication is an extremely troubling issue within the company.

"Repeatedly, individuals failed to disclose critical pieces of information that could have fundamentally changed the lives of those impacted by a faulty ignition switch," said Barra. "If this information had been disclosed, I believe in my heart the company would have dealt with this matter appropriately.

"Furthermore, numerous individuals did not accept any responsibility to drive our organization to understand what was truly happening. The report highlights a company that operated in silos, with a number of individuals seemingly looking for reasons not to act, instead of finding ways to protect our customers."

To end the toxic corporate culture, Barra announced that extensive changes will be put to place at GM. First, Jeff Boyer is named the new Vice President of Safety for the company, elevating and integrating our safety processes under a single leader.

Next, GM has hired an additional 35 safety investigators that will allow the company to more effectively and efficiently identify and address issues much more quickly. As a result, recalls have quickly swelled up to the immense 15.8 million figure over the course of a year.

GM has launched a Speak Up for Safety program that asks its individual employees to report potential safety issues quickly. A new Global Product Integrity organization will also enhance overall safety and quality performance.

Last but not least, CEO Mary Barra announced that the restructured the safety decision-making process to raise it to the highest levels of the company.  Senior management is now going to be at the center of these issues. As for its relationship with the federal agency NHTSA, GM also accepted "unprecedented oversight" by the government and pledged to hand over the complete internal investigation report to Congress and NHTSA, despite keeping some parts of the document confidential.

GM CEO Mary Barra highlights the five major practice changes in her statement:

1)   We named Jeff Boyer Vice President of Safety for the company, elevating and integrating our safety processes under a single leader.  Jeff reports directly to Mark Reuss, and Jeff and I meet regularly.

2)   We added 35 safety investigators that will allow us to identify and address issues much more quickly.  And we have already seen the positive results of their work.

3)   We instituted our Speak Up for Safety program encouraging employees to report potential safety issues quickly.  And we are going to recognize them for doing so.

4)   We announced the creation of, and have implemented, a new Global Product Integrity organization that will enhance our overall safety and quality performance.

5)   Finally – and this is an incredibly important one – we restructured the safety decision-making process to raise it to the highest levels of the company.  Senior management is now going to be at the center of these issues.