By on February 26, 2014

2007 Saturn Ion Red Line

Originally affecting 780,000 2005 – 2007 Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G5s, General Motors has now added another 588,000 vehicle in a recall to fix ignition switches that can lead to the engine being shut off. So far, 31 crashes and 13 front-seat deaths have been linked to the issue.

Automotive News reports the newly affected models include 2003 through 2007 Saturn Ions and 2006 through 2007 Chevrolet HHRs, Saturn Skys and Pontiac Solstices, bringing the total affected by the recall to 1.37 million.

The problem was first discovered in 2004 as the 2005 Cobalt entered showrooms, though GM took no action until December 2005, when the automaker issued a service bulletin advising dealers to advise their customers to not use heavy or large key chains. GM also offered an insert that would prevent keys from hanging too low or swinging too freely, thus preventing unintended ignition cut-offs.

By MY 2007, supplier Delphi began shipments of an approved replacement switch, followed in February 2009 by a redesign of the key to further reduce the risk of accidental shutdowns from an ill-timed bump. By the time the Cobalt left production in 2010, however, the damage was already done: a cluster of crashes where the ignition switch was bumped from “run” to “accessory” or “off,” disabling the airbag and other power systems (like the steering and vacuum assist for the brakes) prior to each crash. It wasn’t until the end of January of this year — after internal investigations were concluded — that a safety recall was finally issued.

GM North America President Alan Batey said in a statement that though his employer may not have been quick enough in issuing the recall, an issue the National Highway and Traffic Safety Association plans to examine, GM will take “an unflinching look at what happened” regarding the ignition recall, adding that customer safety was No. 1 on their list.

In the meantime, owners are advised to use the ignition with nothing adorning the key until their nearest dealer has a chance to inspect and replace the faulty switch. GM is also working with their suppliers to increase parts output in order to quickly introduce replacements into the chain.

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20 Comments on “GM Adds 588,000 Vehicles To Ignition Recall...”


  • avatar
    NormSV650

    So they can be driven? Just without junk on the ignition key? No stop-sale?

  • avatar
    cdotson

    Given that every vehicle affected by the recall has already ceased production a stop-sale order is hardly relevant.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Is that a special Ion R-Line or something? The front looks different somehow. I forgot how much like an xC they looked.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Yup.

      SATURN IT’S A YOUNG PEOPLES CAR! (We swear!)

      Awwwwwwwwww forget it. Let’s just sell Opels.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      Ion Red Line. Had the supercharged ecotec motor the first cobalt SS had. I don’t think it hung around long enough to get the turbo motor the last ones had. I test drove one once and it was fun.

      What killed these was not so much the looks or the cheap interiors. Saturn faithful were used to that. The car debuted with the rubber belt CVT as the auto transmission. I know many were bought back. The red line was a manual only affair with recarro buckets though.

  • avatar
    50merc

    Was there something about the previous design that led GM to introduce the problematic switch? If so, did GM “fix what wasn’t broken”?

    Are we going to have to wait for congressional hearings to learn there are switches used by certain manufacturers that don’t have this problem, but cost two cents more per unit?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      It likely was a case of “let’s redesign it to make it cheaper” or “let’s switch suppliers because Supplier X claims they can do it cheaper.” Yay, PROFIT!”

      Of course all manufacturers engage in these tactics, the talent becomes how deep can you cut without killing yourself.

  • avatar
    gmichaelj

    Sorry if this has been asked before in a previous blog, but wouldn’t most if not all of these defects be “old GM”? Does new GM have to service this for public relationship, not legal, reasons?

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    My honest advice is avoid Saturn after 2002 with the possible exception of Sky bc it is awesome in that oddball way. My z-body SL keeps chugging at 167K, my brother’s at 94K. My mum’s 07 Ion is now under recall for this and I recently discovered a letter from Saturn in 2012 stating if the power steering rack goes out before 2017 they might cover part of the cost of replacing it. Way to go, guys.

  • avatar
    MDBT

    Not sure where this information comes from or what I must be missing but my company owns a number of 2007MY HHRs and they were issued recall letters and dealer installed, GM provided replacement ignition at no cost to our company over two years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      It sounds like a ‘silent recall’. GM might have sent (internal) recall notices to all that purchased and or serviced affected cars. Not necessarily ‘registered owners’, just to the addresses GM dealers had on file. If the owners moved, they may not get the notice. If the cars changed ownership, registered owners can’t be notified without DMV assistance. Now that would involve an official recall (not just a TSB) and that’s what GM was trying to avoid.


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