Last March, General Motors recalled 1.3 million 2005-10 Chevrolet Cobalt and 2007-10 Pontiac G5 vehicles over a faulty power-steering system. Now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating whether the Saturn Ion should have been a part of that recall.
In the affected vehicles, the electric power assist could fail, increasing the risk of a crash, according to NHTSA. The Ion wasn’t part of the recall, but after 638 complaints and 1,444 warranty claims of electric power-steering loss, the agency is rethinking a potential recall for all 384,000 2004-07 Ions.
General Motors rebukes the need for a recall. According to the automaker, a power-steering failure shouldn’t increase the risk of accident; the car should still be controllable despite the increased steering effort. GM also says the Ion failure rate has been much lower than that of the recalled Cobalts and G5s, and if the Ion experiences power-steering failure, the system will be repaired free-of-charge if the vehicle is under warranty. In April, the automaker made NHTSA aware of the Saturn Ion issue, which was one month after the Cobalt and G5 recall.
Eleven crashes and three injuries have been tied to the power-steering failures, according to NHTSA. The agency will continue to closely monitor the situation. According to the New York Times, the level of complaints and accidents may now warrant potential recall action.
Should G.M. Have Recalled Saturn Ions for Steering Failures? (New York Times)