This letter is being sent today to GM CEO Mary Barra:
We ask that General Motors (the Company) recall Saturn Ions for the model years 2004 through 2007 without further delay.
These automobiles endanger the lives and safety of their drivers and passengers due to a loss of power steering, a serious problem of which the Company has been aware for several years.
According to a summary of an ongoing investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
…GM indicated that the EPS (electric power steering) system used in the subject vehicles was the same as that used in the MY2005 to 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5. In March 2010, GM recalled approximately 1.05 million Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 vehicles (NHTSA recall no. 10V-073) to correct a defect with the EPS assist motor.
Although it affects many of the same vehicles, the steering loss is a problem apart from the ignition switch failure problems. For motorists, the reaction when confronted with either problem is likely to be same- panic.
We cannot understand the delay in recalling Saturn Ions, particularly in light of your recent statement that the ignition switch recall “took too long.” You also stated “terrible things happened.” An immediate recall of Saturn Ions will prevent additional “terrible things” from happening.
According to the same NHTSA summary:
ODI (Office of Defects Investigation) has received 846 complaints and GM identified 3,489 reports alleging sudden loss of steering power assist in model year (MY) 2004 through 2007 Saturn Ion vehicles manufactured and sold by General Motors Corporation (GM)…Two of the GM crash claims indicated that the driver was injured in the crash.
We do not know why NHTSA has not already ordered a recall or whether politics enter into its decision-making process. It doesn’t matter. You have the authority to immediately recall these vehicles. END LETTER
According GM’s response to NHTSA, the number of affected Saturn Ions for model years 2004-2007 is 382,475.