DETROIT -- Three House Republicans have sent a letter to General Motors CEO Dan Akerson asking for a "detailed narrative" of how the automaker learned about a fire risk involving the Chevrolet Volt's battery and why it didn't disclose it to the public sooner.
The House's Committee on Oversight and Government Reform wants to know why the company and U.S. safety regulators waited until November to tell consumers, dealers and emergency personnel about a post-crash fire in June involving the Volt.
The Volt caught fire in a storage facility three weeks after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tested the vehicle for side-impact safety. Not until November did GM and NHTSA acknowledge the fire occurred. On Nov. 25, NHTSA announced it was opening a defect investigation on the Volt.
The letter -- dated today -- requests that GM brief the committee on when and how it first learned about the fire as well as what it did to respond.
"In light of the public outrage over Toyota's delayed disclosure, why did GM fail to disclose safety deficiencies with the Volt for five months?" the letter asks.
The House oversight committee, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., also sent a letter to safety regulators earlier today, saying it was expanding its probe into proposed fuel economy standards to include NHTSA's delayed response to alerting the public about the Volt's fire risk. It also provided NHTSA a list of questions it wants answered about the fire.
In both letters, the committee asks GM and NHTSA to respond by Dec. 21.
GM spokesman Greg Martin said GM received the letter and "looks forward to answering the questions."
Mike Colias contributed to this report