The opinion of the court was delivered by: GREEN
FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
The central action of these consolidated proceedings is an enforcement proceeding by the United States seeking declaratory and injunctive relief under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 ("Safety Act"), as amended, 15 U.S.C. § 1381 et seq. Civil penalties are also sought.
On December 19, 1974, the Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determined that a defect relating to motor vehicle safety exists with respect to the fuel inlet plug of the Rochester Quadrajet carburetor ("Quadrajet"). The defect concerns dislodgement of the Quadrajet fuel inlet plug which allows raw gas to be discharged into the engine compartment, thus resulting in a possibility of an engine compartment fire. As a consequence of the determination, General Motors Corporation (General Motors or "GM") was directed, pursuant to section 113(e) of the Act, to notify owners of 1965 and 1966 Chevrolets and 1966 Buicks of the defect.
General Motors has refused to issue such notice and has sought judicial review of the Administrator's determination, which complaint was consolidated with the action filed by the government seeking enforcement of NHTSA's proceedings.
On July 14, 1976, this matter came before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment of the United States. General Motors opposed the motion stating that an issue of material fact exists on the question of whether the alleged defect posed an "unreasonable risk of accident, injury and death." In support of its position, General Motors asserted that the incidence of future plug failure would be negligible, and that based on statistical prediction there will be less than one injury and no deaths as a result of the defect.
Upon consideration of the pleadings, exhibits and briefs filed by the parties and having heard the argument of counsel, the Court, as set forth below, finds the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.
(1) General Motors, defendant herein, a Delaware corporation which maintains its principal office and place of business in Detroit, Michigan, is, and at all times relevant to this action has been, engaged in the transaction of business in, and under the laws of, the District of Columbia, all within the jurisdiction of this Court.
(2) General Motors is, and at all times relevant to this action has been, a manufacturer engaged in interstate commerce within the meaning of Section 102 of the Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1391, and subject to the provisions of the Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1381 et seq.
(3) The Secretary of Transportation has delegated the authority to carry out the Act to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator.
(4) The Administrator has delegated to the Associate Administrator for Motor Vehicle Programs the authority to make initial determinations of the existence of defects related to motor vehicle safety in classes of motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment.
(5) During the period which encompassed model years 1965 and 1966 General Motors manufactured for sale, sold, offered for sale, introduced and delivered for introduction in interstate commerce approximately three hundred seventy four thousand, five hundred eighteen (374,518) Chevrolet and Buick vehicles manufactured prior to March 28, 1966 and equipped with the Rochester Quadrajet carburetor.
(6) As of January 1, 1976, General Motors estimates that approximately one hundred eighty six thousand (186,000) 1965 and 1966 model year Chevrolets and 1966 model year Buicks, originally equipped with the Quadrajet, remain in use on American Highways.
(8) As a result of testing, inspection, investigation, research and reports, all relating to the safety of the design, manufacturing and performance of the fuel inlet plug of the Rochester Quadrajet carburetor installed on 1965 and 1966 model General Motors vehicles, the Associate Administrator for Motor Vehicle Programs, by letter dated May 20, 1974, informed defendant that it had been initially determined that a defect which relates to motor vehicle safety exists with respect to the ...