Saturn Ion at Center of Power Steering Safety Probe

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu

With the massive recall recently announced over General Motors’ ignition switch issue, the government safety agency overseeing the investigation is under scrutiny as to why a similar recall hasn’t been issued for the Saturn Ion’s power steering failures.

At least 846 complaints have been filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) on the 2004-2007 Saturn Ion with owners reporting a sudden loss of power steering assistance, an issue that resulted in a recall of over one-million Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 vehicles four years ago.

SEE ALSO: 303 Deaths Linked to Failed GM Airbags

General Motors has informed NHTSA that the electric power steering system in the Saturn Ion is identical to that in the Cobalt and the G5, and despite the agency replicating the same issue on the Saturn Ion, no recall was issued.

Recently, GM CEO Mary Barra issued out a statement that the ignition switch recall “took too long,” and now many are questioning why no recall has been issued on the Ion. If a recall is issued on the 2004-2007 Saturn Ion, 382,000 vehicles would be affected. There have been reports of 16 crashes and two injuries related to the issue. The investigation was upgraded to an engineering analysis by NHTSA in September 2011, but the agency stated that it did not have enough evidence to order a recall from GM.

[Source: Automotive News]

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Jason Siu
Jason Siu

Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.

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  • DM DM on Mar 21, 2014

    I hope that the ION is recalled for the power steering issue. The Colbalt was recalled but not the ION. I figured that because Saturn is gone GM figured to send out letters informing owners of a potential problem. Saturn gone & forgotten. The letter states that the problem will be fixed at no charge and the new unit will have a warranty. Yet I do not want to live with the uncertain feeling that anytime I could see the power steering failure warning show up on the dashboard. My 2007 has nearly 50,000 miles on it. I have not had this problem but my neighbor who had recently purchased a used 2007 with more mileage and in excellent condition just experienced this problem She had no problem though receiving repairs. I am very satisfied to date with my ION. Why the "old" GM never took care of some of the problems that haunted the 2003-2004 ION is beyond me. It may not be for some the most exciting car but it has delivered dependable performance. I think that it has a much better/transmission combo than my SL 1. I find that the center dash problem is not a problem. The trunk is big and the ride for that size car is good. I know that the so-called experts love to slam the ION. The fault is not with the vehicle it is with those corporate genius goofballs who never bothered to finish the refinements that were needed before the introduction. Saturn was poorly treated by the "old" GM brass. The Vti transmission problems, the early L models all pointed to a corporate culture that really did not careabout the products that it had for sale. Before the "Great Recession" the auto market had too many brands available. I remember how GM really killed off Cadillac in the 1970s & 1980s with poor engineering. They ruined Oldsmobile, &Pontiac through a slow death and threw Saturn & Saab under the bus. The Hummer was in my opinion ridiculous to begin with. I supported the "bailout" for both GM & Chrysler because their demise would have crippled our manufacturing sector and dragged down a lot of auto related companies and associated jobs with it. Regardless of ones opinion about President Obama & President Bush 43 both agreed to this. I am glad that Buick is coming back but is sad to remember the slow death by a thousand paper cuts of both Oldsmobile & Pontiac. Looking through the Pontiac promo models offered on E-Bay reminded me that yes a long time ago Pontiac was Wide Track excitement. I think that Ford should have invested in reinventing Mercury and perhaps had one Lincoln model. The passing of Plymouth is no great loss. I hate to tell CU this but a number of ION owners I have meet who have 2005-2007 models are pleased with them. I do not know what my next car will be but so far it is a long long way off. Except for a piece of trim on the left rear door and the usual little dings my ION still looks new. Living in an apartment I cannot garage it and so far the body looks pretty good except for that piece of trim. No problems staring during the winter . I knew the service manager of the Saturn dealer that I purchased it from . It made a lot more sense than buying a fairly new Corolla, Sentra or a new Escort. I knew that I would get very service which I did.