69 Words General Motors Didn’t Want Its Employees To Use When Describing GM Cars
“Rolling sarcophagus.” “Widow-maker.”
If you’re an employee at General Motors, you shouldn’t to refer to GM vehicles as rolling sarcophagi or the Hindenburg.
That’s according to new documents released as part of GM’s $35 million settlement over its faulty ignition switches, which instruct engineers how to describe problems in vehicles without using certain inflammatory language.
The confidential PowerPoint presentation containing the words is from 2008, and warns employees not to describe vehicles in ways that invoke emotion or that are speculative, opinionated, or vague. It also instructs them to think how it would look if everything they say or email wound up as a front-page headline.
Greg Martin, a spokesman for GM, told Reuters that company culture is different now than it was back in 2008.
“Today’s GM encourages employees to discuss safety issues, which is reinforced through GM’s recently announced Speak Up for Safety Program,” Martin said.
Here’s the full list:
1. Always2. Annihilate3. Apocalyptic4. Asphyxiating5. Bad6. Band-Aid7. Big time8. Brakes like an “X” Car9. Cataclysmic10. Catastrophic
The Hindenburg was a German airship that famously exploded while trying to dock in New Jersey. GM instructed its employees not to liken its vehicles to the Hindenburg.
11. Challenger12. Chaotic13. Cobain14. Condemns15. Corvair-like16. Crippling17. Critical18. Dangerous19. Deathtrap20. Debilitating
21. Decapitating22. Defect23. Defective24. Detonate25. Disemboweling26. Enfeebling27. Evil28. Eviscerated29. Explode30. Failed
A sarcophagus is a stone coffin, sometimes covered with ornate designs. GM asked that its employees not refer to their vehicles as a “rolling sarcophagus.”
31. Failure32. Flawed33. Genocide34. Ghastly35. Grenadelike36. Grisly37. Gruesome38. Hindenburg39. Hobbling40. Horrific41. Impaling42. Inferno43. Kevorkianesque44. Lacerating45. Life-threatening46. Maiming47. Malicious48. Mangling49. Maniacal50. Mutilating
The Titanic was a large ship that crashed into an iceberg resulting in the deaths of thousands onboard. GM employees were told they should not compare their vehicles to the Titanic.
51. Never52. Potentially-disfiguring53. Powder keg54. Problem55. Rolling Sarcophagus (tomb or coffin)56. Safety57. Safety related58. Serious59. Spontaneous combustion60. Startling61. Suffocating62. Suicidal63. Terrifying64. Titanic65. Tomblike66. Unstable67. Widow-maker68. Words or phrases with biblical connotation69. You’re toast