On the same day that fellow domestic automaker Chrysler announced a recall of more than 860,000 SUVs worldwide, the new chief executive officer at General Motors faced a barrage of pointed questions from lawmakers on Capitol Hill for the second day in a row.

During a hearing on Wednesday orchestrated by the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance, Mary Barra reiterated many of the same positions she articulated during a session in the U.S. House less than 24 hours earlier. The lawmakers are questioning the automaker’s role and response to problems with ignition switches in discontinued models that have been connected to at least a dozen deaths.

“The issues raised in the hearing were tough but fair,” Barra said in a statement after the Senate hearing. “I appreciate the intense interest by the senators to fully understand what happened and why. I am going to accomplish exactly that, and we will keep Congress informed.

“Meanwhile, we will continue doing all we can to repair our customers’ vehicles and rebuild their trust in GM,” she continued.

Nearly all the senators on the committee wanted to know why it has apparently has taken GM several years to conduct a recall of models such as the Chevrolet Cobalt when documents show that some OEM engineers possibly knew about the switches potentially turning into the accessory position and disabling key vehicle functions as long ago as 2005 — and possibly even earlier than that point.

“It took way too long for this to come to our attention and to do the recall. We’ve admitted that. We’ve apologized. It’s tragic there has been lives lost and lives impacted with this event,” Barra told the Senate committee.

Barra also had to defend another element of the entire recall campaign — why replacement ignition switches had the same part number as problematic parts, prompting the automaker to recall another 842,000 units this past weekend.

“I find it completely unacceptable that a part would be changed without a part number identifier being changed,” Barra said on Wednesday. “That is not a process of good engineering. That is not an acceptable process then and it clearly isn’t now. As we do our investigation we will deal with that situation because that’s not acceptable for good engineering principles.

“As I look at the culture of the company during this timeframe, this part was designed in the late ’90s. It went into production in ’03 and went out of production in ’11,” she continued. “The culture of the company at that time had more of a cost-culture focus. I can tell you we have gone through several things since the bankruptcy to create a new culture at General Motors to be focused on the customer, starting with rewriting our values.”

Like during the House hearing on Tuesday, Barra often repeated the ongoing efforts of former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas to conduct “a thorough and unimpeded investigation of the actions of General Motors.”

Clearly frustrated by Barra’s line of responses, several Senate committee members wanted to know if the investigation and report generated by Valukas would be credible.

“I certainly know he is not going to compromise his reputation for General Motors,” Barra responded. “I have confidence in the fact he’s done other investigations in the past, and we’ve gotten to the truth by going to multiple sources. We will act on it including discharging people.”

Another element that raised the ire lawmakers on Wednesday was when Barra told House members that GM would release “appropriate” findings from Valukas’ report. Barra used a part of Wednesday’s hearing to clarify the company’s stance.

“When I said we would share what’s appropriate, we will share anything and everything that’s related to safety of our vehicles and safety of this incident,” Barra said. “We’ll share it with our customers. We’ll share that with you and our regulators. If we learn things that are broader from a safety perspective, we will share that.

“The only thing, and this is the reason I used what is appropriate, is if there is an issue of competitiveness because we’ve opened everything to Mr. Valukas. Also as an employer, we have responsibilities on privacy to some of our employees as part of our employee agreement. I have to respect that as well,” she continued.

“I appreciate the opportunity to clarify this. Anything remotely related to safety of vehicles or anything that could improve the process and what we could have done better with (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) will be readily shared in a transparent process,” Barra went on to say.

Chrysler Recalling SUVs

Before activities cranked up for its domestic counterpart on Capitol Hill, Chrysler Group announced Wednesday that will recall an estimated 867,795 SUVs to install a shield that protects their brake boosters from corrosion caused by undue water exposure.

 Chrysler said it launched an investigation after receiving customer feedback about excessive brake-pedal firmness.

“The investigation discovered certain vehicles have brake boosters with small crimp joints, and these joints may exhibit corrosion when exposed to water,” automaker officials said. “Should water enter the boosters through corroded joints — a previously unseen occurrence — brake function may be compromised if the water freezes.”

“Absent water ingestion in sub-freezing conditions, a booster that exhibits corrosion will deliver brake function in compliance with federal safety standards,” officials continued.

Chrysler stressed that vehicles included in this campaign are equipped with a hydraulic boost compensation system that aids performance, even when booster vacuum levels are low.

“However, customers may experience excessive brake-pedal firmness,” Chrysler said.

The automaker added it is aware of one related accident and no injuries.

Chrysler will inspect the brake boosters on certain Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs, model years 2011 through 2014. The boosters may be replaced if their capability has been reduced. All boosters will be equipped with a shield to insulate their crimp joints from water.

The cost of this work will be borne by Chrysler.

Officials calculated that affected customers include an estimated 644,354 in the U.S.; 42,380 in Canada; 21,376 in Mexico and 159,685 outside the NAFTA region.

They will be contacted with instructions to schedule service with Chrysler franchised dealers, officials said.

Customers who remain concerned can call (800) 853-1403.

Chrysler also mentioned brake boosters used in current production vehicles feature crimp joints treated with a special coating designed to resist corrosion.