General Motors is under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration due to 384,000 units of the Saturn Ion that — according to NHTSA — should have been part of a recall.
In March, GM issued a recall due to loss of power steering in 1.3 million 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalts and 2007-2010 Pontiac G5s, leading to increasingly difficult steering in those vehicles. At the time, GM argued that the vehicle was still controllable but the driver would need to put more effort into steering the car. NHTSA disagreed with GM’s assessment and said the problem led to “increasing the risk of a crash.”
Then in April, GM informed NHTSA that the Saturn Ion was also affected by the electric power steering problems. Recently, NHTSA posted this information on its website, stating that GM “had identified 638 complaints and 1,444 warranty claims for loss of E.P.S.” on 2005-2007 Saturn Ions. The complaints also included seven crash claims that indicated electric power assist failures, “including two incidents involving a total of three injury allegations.” Neither GM nor NHTSA issued a recall notice on the Ion at the time.
GM Spokesman Alan Adler explained that the failure rate of electric power steering in the Ion was significantly less than that on the the Cobalt or G5. What’s more, the 2004-2007 Saturn Ions carry a 10-year or 100,000-mile warranty — meaning that power steering repairs would still be covered, even today.
NHTSA Spokesman Eric Bolton said the agency can’t order a recall without “first demonstrating a safety-related defect.” NHTSA would “closely monitor” the number of complaints before taking action. Well, it appears that the number of complaints and accidents has reached the appropriate level for NHTSA to start an official investigation. From what we know, GM is cooperating with the investigation. Stay tuned as we learn more. In the meantime, check out all recalls issued by GM over the last few years.
Source: New York Times Wheels