DETROIT -- General Motors CEO Dan Akerson on Wednesday agreed to testify in front of a U.S. House panel next week looking into how safety regulators handled an investigation into Chevrolet Volt fire risks.
"Dan has agreed to testify at the hearing, and he looks forward to doing it," GM spokesman Greg Martin told The Detroit News. This will be Akerson’s first testimony on Capitol Hill since he took over as CEO of GM in September 2010.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., is also expected to hear from David Strickland, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The hearing, set for Wednesday, Jan. 25, is titled "Volt Vehicle Fire: What did NHTSA know and when did they know it?"
In November, NHTSA opened an investigation into the Volt's fire risk. One battery pack caught fire in June, three weeks after a NHTSA crash test. Two more caught fire in November, also days or weeks after NHTSA crash tests.
Earlier this month, GM offered a voluntary modification meant to keep the Chevrolet Volt's battery pack from catching fire after a severe crash, a big step toward sidestepping a potential image hit to the halo car.
GM is asking its 8,000 Volt customers to bring the plug-in hybrid to their Chevy dealership for a fix that will reinforce the steel surrounding the battery pack to prevent it from being punctured during a crash. It also will add a sensor to the battery pack to monitor coolant leaks.
The action is not a product recall but a voluntary "customer satisfaction program," said Mary Barra, GM's global product chief.
NHTSA has said GM's modifications "should address" the fire risk issue, but said it has not closed its investigation.
Chevy dealerships will be ready to perform the modifications sometime in February, officials said.
Mike Colias contributed to this report.