Saturn auto news

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GM issues four new recalls, 2.4 million cars affected

05/20/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, SUVs, Trucks/Pickups, Recalls/TSBs, Safety, Crossovers/CUVs, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Pontiac, Saturn, Luxury

2008 Chevy Malibu

General Motors has announced another set of recalls, covering some 2.42 million cars in the United States. For those keeping track, The General has now recalled over 15 million cars worldwide this year due to various issues.

Here's the breakdown for this most recent set of recalls:

  • 1,339,355 - Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia models from the 2009 to 2014 model years; Saturn Outlook models from the 2009 to 2010 model years
  • 1,075,102 - Chevy Malibu sedans from the 2004 to 2008 model years; Pontiac G6 models from the 2005 to 2008 model years
  • 1,402 - Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV SUVs from the 2015 model year
  • 58 - Chevy Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD pickups from the 2015 model year
For the Lambda crossovers, GM says that "front safety lap belt cables can fatigue and separate over time." In the event of a crash, "a separated cable could increase the risk of injury to front seat passengers," the automaker points out. GM has told its dealers not to sell any new or used examples of these vehicles until the repairs are made.

The Malibu and G6 issue, which also includes the Malibu Maxx, is an extension of a recall for Saturn Aura models with four-speed automatic transmissions. 4AT-equipped models have a condition where the transmission shift cable can fracture. "When the fracture occurs, the driver may not be able to select a different gear, remove the key from the ignition or place the transmission in park," GM states. The company is aware of 18 crashes and one injury related to this issue.

Brand-new Escalade models are being recalled because "an insufficiently heated plastic weld that attaches the passenger side air bag to the instrument panel assembly could result in a partial deployment of the air bag in the event of a crash." A stop-sale has been ordered for these SUVs, and owners have been told to not let anyone sit in the front passenger seat until the issue has been addressed.

Finally, the HD pickup recall affects vehicles equipped with a 220-amp generator. "Retention clips that attach a fuse block to the vehicle body can become loose, allowing the fuse block to move out of position and lead to a potential fire," GM states.

Overall, GM said in a press release that it expects to take a charge of up to $400 million in the second quarter, due to recall-related repairs. This figure includes the previously announced $200 million recall charge.

Scroll down for the full details in GM's press blast.

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GM recalling another 2.7 million vehicles in five separate campaigns

05/15/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Recalls/TSBs, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GM, GMC, Pontiac, Saturn

2014 Chevy Malibu

The recalls keep rolling in from General Motors, evidently keen to avoid repeating the mistakes of the ignition-switch debacle and clean house. This time they're all coming at once, with five separate recalls announced together covering approximately 2.7 million vehicles.

The largest of the five actions involves over 2.4 million units of the previous-generation Chevrolet Malibu and Malibu Maxx, Pontiac G6 and Saturn Aura in order to fix brake light wiring harness, which have been found to be susceptible to corrosion. The recall is separate from the 56k Aura sedans which GM recently recalled over faulty shift cables, not to mention the previous massive recall of 1.3 million vehicles - some of them the same models - but appears to have resulted from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation that started with the G6 almost a year ago.

The second-largest campaign involves the 2014 Chevy Malibu, specifically those fitted with GM's 2.5-liter engine and stop/start system, approximately 140,000 examples of which has been found to have problematic brakes. The issue does not appear to be connected to the recall of 8k Malibu and Buick LaCrosse sedans (also involving brake woes) which we reported upon last week. Four crashes have been reported in such models, but GM admits it's not yet clear if the problem was a contributing factor in the accidents.

A further 112k Corvette models from the 2005-2007 model years are being called in for problems with their low-beam headlamps resulting from a flexing relay control circuit wire that's not meant to bend. GM says it is "aware of several hundred complaints" about this issue, but notes that there have been no reports of related accidents.

In addition, over 19k examples of Cadillac CTS from the 2013 and 2014 model years are being recalled over windshield wipers that might not work after a jump start.

Finally, GM is also bringing in 477 examples of its 2014 Chevy Silverado, Tahoe and GMC Sierra (though not the Yukon) to fix a problem with a tie rod in its steering rack.

As ever, all recall repairs will be performed free of charge, and GM is now estimating that recall-related actions this quarter will result in an estimated $200-million charge against its second-quarter earnings. Read the full announcement from GM below for further details.

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GM recalling another 2.7-million vehicles in five separate campaigns

05/15/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Recalls/TSBs, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GM, GMC, Pontiac, Saturn

2014 Chevy Malibu

The recalls keep rolling in from General Motors, evidently keen to avoid repeating the mistakes of the ignition-switch debacle and clean house. This time they're all coming at once, with five separate recalls announced together covering approximately 2.7 million vehicles.

The largest of the five actions involves over 2.4 million units of the previous-generation Chevrolet Malibu and Malibu Maxx, Pontiac G6 and Saturn Aura in order to fix brake light wiring harness, which have been found to be susceptible to corrosion. The recall is separate from the 56k Aura sedans which GM recently recalled over faulty shift cables, not to mention the previous massive recall of 1.3 million vehicles - some of them the same models - but appears to have resulted from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation that started with the G6 almost a year ago.

The second-largest campaign involves the 2014 Chevy Malibu, specifically those fitted with GM's 2.5-liter engine and stop/start system, approximately 140,000 examples of which has been found to have problematic brakes. The issue does not appear to be connected to the recall of 8k Malibu and Buick LaCrosse sedans (also involving brake woes) which we reported upon last week. Four crashes have been reported in such models, but GM admits it's not yet clear if the problem was a contributing factor in the accidents.

A further 112k Corvette models from the 2005-2007 model years are being called in for problems with their low-beam headlamps resulting from a flexing relay control circuit wire that's not meant to bend. GM says it is "aware of several hundred complaints" about this issue, but notes that there have been no reports of related accidents.

In addition, over 19k examples of Cadillac CTS from the 2013 and 2014 model years are being recalled over windshield wipers that might not work after a jump start.

Finally, GM is also bringing in 477 examples of its 2014 Chevy Silverado, Tahoe and GMC Sierra (though not the Yukon) to fix a problem with a tie rod in its steering rack.

As ever, all recall repairs will be performed free of charge, and GM is now estimating that recall-related actions this quarter will result in an estimated $200-million charge against its second-quarter earnings. Read the full announcement from GM below for further details.

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GM calling in 56k Saturn Aura sedans over shift cables

05/08/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Economy, Sedans/Saloons, Recalls/TSBs, Saturn

2007 Saturn Aura

General Motors may have made a few mistakes when it came to the whole ignition-switch debacle, and it will likely be dealing with the consequences for some time to come. But you have to hand it to Mary Barra and her team, because they're determined to clean house and avoid the same mistakes. That's why the biggest of the Big Three automakers in Detroit has been issuing recalls left, right and Renaissance Center. Aside from those vehicles fitted with the faulty ignition switches, GM has recalled over 50,000 Cadillac SRXs, another 50 heavy-duty pickups and some 51,000 full-size crossovers. There are bound to be more to come, and now it's issued another 50k-unit recall over faulty shift cables in the transmission.

The recall affects 2007 and 2008 Saturn Auras fitted with the four-speed automatic transmission manufactured between April 24, 2006, and October 31, 2007. The recall doesn't affect models equipped with the six-speed automatic, or for that matter any of the Aura's Epsilon platform-mates like the Chevy Malibu, Pontiac G6, Opel Signum and Vectra, Saab 9-3 or - carrying over from Fiat's aborted partnership with GM - the Fiat Croma, although many of those models used the same 4T40 transmission employed in the Aura.

In the affected vehicles, the shift cable might fracture while in motion, preventing the transmission from shifting into Park or the ignition from switching off, which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration figures could lead to the car rolling away. Hence the recall of 56,214 units in the United States, owners of which can expect to hear from their dealership in due course to have the necessary components replaced.

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Investigation suggests GM slow to recall 1.2M CUVs over airbags

05/01/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Government/Legal, Recalls/TSBs, Safety, Crossovers/CUVs, Buick, Chevrolet, GM, GMC, Saturn

Chevrolet Traverse

Slowly but surely, General Motors is learning quite a few lessons from its recent ignition-switch recall fiasco. A recent timeline submitted by the company to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that it took six years to issue a recent recall on several crossovers.

In March, GM recalled 1.18 million CUVs because the side impact airbag system could fail, including some 2008-2013 Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia models, as well as 2009-2013 Chevrolet Traverse (pictured above) and 2008-2010 Saturn Outlook models. The announcement was timed with GM CEO Mary Barra's video apology about the ignition switch recall.

The NHTSA document suggests that GM initially hoped to avoid a recall on the CUVs. On March 13, the company first wanted to cover the vehicles under a customer satisfaction campaign. These aren't monitored by the government, according to Automotive News. The next day, it updated the repair to a full recall after a call with the government regulator.

The recall wasn't the first indication of the airbag problem either. According to GM's timeline, in June 2008, it noticed "a significant increase in warranty claims for an illuminated airbag service light." An investigation showed the side airbag wires' connectors could wear and corrode, which would increase resistance in the wires. The additional resistance would first illuminate the "Service Air Bag" warning light, but at a high enough level, the airbags may no longer deploy. The automaker issued the first service bulletin about the possibility of failing side impact airbags on the CUVs in November 2008. More airbag-related bulletins were issued for subsequent model years of the crossovers.

According to Automotive News, there were no reported crashes or injuries related to the faulty side impact airbags in the affected models, and GM believed the service bulletins covered the problem. However, the company appeared reluctant to issue a recall for a problem that it knew about for years. With the automaker's vehicle safety under such scrutiny, it's a poor message to send. The entire nine-page NHTSA timeline is publicly available and can be downloaded as a PDF, here.

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Saturn Ion steering probe closed by NHTSA

04/23/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Recalls/TSBs, Safety, GM, Saturn

Saturn Ion

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has closed its investigation into faulty electric power steering motors affecting 334,728 Saturn Ions from 2004-2007, because General Motors has issued a recall for them. The group's research found that the part failed at a high rate in the vehicles.

GM recalled over 1.3 million vehicles a few weeks ago, including the Ion, because the power steering could suddenly fail. If broken, the cars could still turn, but it took greater effort. The automaker is also covering 96,324 2003 Ions with a lifetime warranty for their motors, but it's not immediately replacing them.

NHTSA opened its investigation into the motors in September 2011, and it found 4,787 complaints and 30,560 warranty claims that showed failure for the Ion alone. It estimated a complaint rate of 14.3 incidents per 1,000 vehicles and warranty claim rate of 9.1 percent. The investigation also found evidence of 12 crashes caused by loss of steering, two of which resulted in injuries.

According to The Detroit News, the Ion wasn't initially going to be included in the recall. During the House's hearing into GM's ignition switch recall, it presented an email from October 2011 to Mary Barra that notified her of the bad steering motors and said the "Ion data did not justify being included" in the recall. At some point, the automaker apparently changed its decision. NHTSA's investigation report can be downloaded as a PDF.

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General Motors announces another big ignition-related recall

04/11/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Government/Legal, Recalls/TSBs, Safety, Chevrolet, Pontiac, Saturn

General Motors CEO Mary Barra finishes her testimony before a Congressional subcommittee last week.

The company is recalling 2.19 million of the same models to fix a problem that allows keys to be removed from ignitions that are not in the "off" position.

Replacement parts for cars at the center of a massive General Motors recall for defective ignition switches began arriving at dealerships across this country just this week. If car owners have already gotten repairs made, they'll need to make an additional trip to their dealerships. On Thursday, General Motors said there's another safety problem plaguing the same vehicles.

The company is recalling 2.19 million of the same Chevrolet Cobalt, HHR, Saturn Ion, Sky, Pontiac G5 and Solstice models to fix a problem that allows keys to be removed from ignitions that are not in the "off" position.

In at least one case, a vehicle rolled away in a parking lot and resulted in a crash and injury, according to GM, which said it is aware of "several hundred" complaints about keys coming out of ignitions. The company will fix the ignition lock cylinders to prevent the problem.

This is a separate problem than the one allowing ignition switches in the same models to inadvertently move from the "run" to "accessory" positions, which can turn off both the engine and airbag systems. That defect has led to 13 deaths, and subsequently, Congressional inquiries into why the company didn't recall affected vehicles sooner.

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GM recalling another 1.3 million cars over power steering woes

04/01/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Recalls/TSBs, Safety, Chevrolet, GM, Pontiac, Saturn

Chevrolet HHR

GM power steering recall chartWhen it rains, it pours. General Motors has announced yet another major recall, covering 1.3 million units in the American market over concerns that their power steering could suddenly fail. As reported by The Detroit News' David Shepardson, GM has now recalled nearly ten times as many cars as it did all of last year.

It's important to note that should this problem arise in these cars, the steering won't fail completely, however, power steering could suddenly stop functioning. Manual steering would still be possible, but as GM says, there's an increased risk of accidents, particularly at lower speeds.

Like the ignition switch recall, this latest problem covers a wide range of vehicles from Chevrolet, Saturn and Pontiac. Normally, we'd give you the full rundown in paragraph form, but the variety of models and model years means a list is just easier. So, have a look, directly from GM's press release:

"Chevrolet Malibu: All model year 2004 and 2005, and some model year 2006 and model year 2008 and 2009 vehicles

Chevrolet Malibu Maxx: All model year 2004 and 2005, and some 2006 model year

Chevrolet HHR (Non-Turbo): Some model year 2009 and 2010 vehicles

Chevrolet Cobalt: Some model year 2010 vehicles

Saturn Aura: Some model year 2008 and 2009 vehicles

Saturn Ion: All model year 2004 to 2007 vehicles

Pontiac G6: All model year 2005, and some model year 2006 and model year 2008 and 2009 vehicles"

In addition to those cars, 309,160 HHRs from 2006 to 2008 and 96,324 Saturn Ions from 2003 will get lifetime warranties for their power steering motors.

"With these safety recalls and lifetime warranties, we are going after every car that might have this problem, and we are going to make it right," Jeff Boyer, GM's new vice president of global vehicle safety said in a statement. "We have recalled some of these vehicles before for the same issue and offered extended warranties on others, but we did not do enough."

Scroll down for the full press release from GM.

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GM recalling another 1.3-million cars over power steering woes

04/01/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Recalls/TSBs, Safety, Chevrolet, GM, Pontiac, Saturn

Chevrolet HHR

GM power steering recall chartWhen it rains, it pours. General Motors has announced yet another major recall, covering 1.3 million units in the American market over concerns that the power steering could suddenly fail. As reported by The Detroit News' David Shepardson, GM has now recalled nearly ten times as many cars as it did all of last year.

It's important to note that should this problem arise in these cars, the steering won't fail completely, however, power steering could suddenly stop functioning. Manual steering would still be possible, but as GM says, there's an increased risk of accidents, particularly at lower speeds.

Like the ignition switch recall, this latest problem covers a wide range of vehicles from Chevrolet, Saturn and Pontiac. Normally, we'd give you the full rundown in paragraph form, but the variety of models and model years means a list is just easier. So, have a look, directly from GM's press release:

"Chevrolet Malibu: All model year 2004 and 2005, and some model year 2006 and model year 2008 and 2009 vehicles

Chevrolet Malibu Maxx: All model year 2004 and 2005, and some 2006 model year

Chevrolet HHR (Non-Turbo): Some model year 2009 and 2010 vehicles

Chevrolet Cobalt: Some model year 2010 vehicles

Saturn Aura: Some model year 2008 and 2009 vehicles

Saturn Ion: All model year 2004 to 2007 vehicles

Pontiac G6: All model year 2005, and some model year 2006 and model year 2008 and 2009 vehicles"

In addition to those cars, 309,160 HHRs from 2006 to 2008 and 96,324 Saturn Ions from 2003 will get lifetime warranties for their power steering motors.

"With these safety recalls and lifetime warranties, we are going after every car that might have this problem, and we are going to make it right," Jeff Boyer, GM's new vice president of global vehicle safety said in a statement. "We have recalled some of these vehicles before for the same issue and offered extended warranties on others, but we did not do enough."

Scroll down for the full press release from GM.

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Documents portray 'unsettling picture' of responses to GM ignition-switch problem

03/31/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, Government/Legal, Recalls/TSBs, Safety, Hatchbacks, Chevrolet, Saturn

GM blue symbol on floor

A senior investigator within the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wanted to open an investigation into defective Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion models in November 2007. The director of the agency's Defects Assessment Division had spotted a trend of airbag non-deployments in the two General Motors models - early evidence of a problem included four fatal accidents, 29 complaints and 14 field reports.

NHTSA chose not to pursue an investigation.

The revelation came Sunday when a Congressional subcommittee that's reviewed tens of thousands of documents related to GM's recall fiasco released a memo that summarized its initial findings (which you can find here - warning, PDF). "Although we have had the documents for less than a week, they paint an unsettling picture," said Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA).

Hearings held by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee are scheduled begin Tuesday morning. General Motors CEO Mary Barra and NHTSA administrator David Friedman are expected to testify.

In a written statement Sunday, a NHTSA spokesperson said, "the agency reviewed data from a number of sources in 2007, but the data we had at the time did not warrant a formal investigation. Recent data presented by GM provides new information and evidence directly linking the ignition switch to the airbag non-deployment."

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