Firing people does not ultimately solve the problem. We're only talking about 13 people who have lost their lives due to this single failure. Some of whom died without wearing their seat belts. General Motors should have recalled the issue, but the fact is the failure almost never happens. The 15 people the fired lost their jobs because the media has blown up the issue, not because they were harming the company. How many would be enough for the people who want to seek revenge on GM? It makes no difference if you didn't fire anyone. They got caught and are not likely to repeat the same error again. Even if the fine was insignificant, they feel the pain in all the costs associated with the mandatory recalls. People come in with absolutely bald tires complaining they're not safe because of a possible ignition issue-- those same people get a paid rental car from GM when they've let their car become more dangerous than the issue at hand.
GM has shown an ongoing lack of regard for the lives of their customers and only when confronted with the loss of life did they acknowledge a problem that they knew existed ten years ago. They will only take responsibility when forced to do so and the firing of 15 employees is not enough.
No, it is not enough that 15 employees lost their jobs after covering up the reason why 13 people died. While I do not believe it is morally acceptable to demand the lives of these 15 employees, GM should be punished for fostering a corporate culture where this kind of behavior is acceptable or even encouraged. I think at this point GM is simply attempting to save face with the general public.
I firmly believe that the individuals involved with covering up the default and not making changes as soon as they found out about it should be held liable for the deaths. This is gross negligence at best. The fact that the fix for this issue was so simple only adds insult to injury.