GM, NHTSA Deliberated Saturn Vue Issue Thrice Prior To Recall

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon

The General Motors recall train has boarded quite a few passengers since leaving the station in late February of this year. For one passenger, the 2002-2004 Saturn Vue (V-U-E, if you’re Keith Sweat), it took some deliberation by the conductors and fare inspectors before allowing the compact crossover aboard.

Autoblog reports General Motors and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration held three meetings with each other from mid-June through late July regarding 152 reports of the Vue’s ignition key being easily removable despite the switch not being turned to the “off” position. The reports were first discovered in April by the automaker.

In addition to the meetings, GM’s own Open Issue Review panel looked over the data near the end of July, with the go-ahead for recall given by the Safety Field Action Decision Authority July 31, as noted in a memo sent to the NHTSA the day prior to the issuance of the recall.

On August 8, 215,243 2002-2004 Vues around the globe — 202,155 in the United States — were brought aboard the recall train as part of six recalls issued that day, affecting a total of 312,280 units worldwide.

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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  • Domestic Hearse Domestic Hearse on Sep 08, 2014

    The now discontinued Saturn Vue lives on as a rebadged Chevy Captiva and is sold only as a fleet vehicle in the US. I recently was given one along with a huge keyring containing the ID tag, two keys, two fobs. A big, heavy, ungainly mess. It should come as no surprise then that I had an unintended ignition shut-off while underway. Luckily, I knew of the GM ignition problem, shifted to neutral, restarted the vehicle, and managed not to hit anything though steering and braking capabilities were seriously impaired for eight seconds of engine-less driving. I then took a hacksaw to the heavy, ungainly key ring and drove the Captiva using only one fob/key, as advised by GM legal when operating a Vue. After advising the rental agents, rental location management, and writing an email to corporate, I was told in a return email that the rental company in question will no longer rent Captivas with more than one key-fob. Just beware, fellow readers, when renting a Captiva. It's pure Vue under the badges, ignition switch included.

    • Vulpine Vulpine on Sep 08, 2014

      I wouldn't say "pure Vue", but rather Pure Opel, which WASN'T the Vue; the 4cyl Vue ran Opel running gear but carried a polystyrene body.

  • Snagor Snagor on Sep 08, 2014

    Thanks for letting us know about this. We have a 2003 VUE that has this issue. We always thought of being able to pull the ignition key out at any time as more of a quirk, instead of a safety issue. It hasn't caused us any specific problems but might as well fix it. The key is fairly loose; it takes almost no effort to pull it out, although it does not come out in normal driving. I don't remember having any heavy key chains at any time. Also I seem to think that the engine continues to run after the key is removed, but I'll have to test that out later.

  • Bikephil Bikephil on Sep 08, 2014

    We have an 05 VUE that does this. Would it not be included in the recall also?

  • Compaq Deskpro Compaq Deskpro on Sep 08, 2014

    I have a family member who owned an 06 since new, and it never had an issue with a loose ignition, and he has the nastiest wad of care cards and doodads hanging from his keychain. On the other, I know someone who has an early 2000's Pontiac Grand Prix (with the 3800, yum) that he can pull the key out at any time and keep driving, usually to entertain passengers.