NHTSA Expands Probe of Runaway Saturn Aura Sedans

By Jacob Brown | November 15, 2011
As the lone person on Automotive.com’s staff who owns a Saturn, it saddens me to write about what was once considered a “different kind of car company” is experiencing the same kinds of problems with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as many other “old GM” products. After maligned rear suspensions on pre-bankruptcy Chevrolet Impala and faulty airbags on the Pontiac G8, it strong that the shift cables on Saturn Aura sedans are the next parts to go under the magnifying glass. Already, the NHTSA has received 23 complaints, and GM has taken in another 111, according to Automotive News. Also relayed by the news outlet, the investigation affects 2007 and 2008 model years with four-speed automatic transmissions. According to the NHTSA, the cable had a tendency to stick. Aura drivers shifting into park had reported their cars still moving, including several where the cars were either in drive or reverse and struck buildings.
The potential number of affected vehicles totals 88,729. With a deepened view of the investigation, the NHTSA could soon offer a recall on the affected sedans, further muddying the waters between what “new GM” is to fix and what “old GM” will no longer honor. With complications already abound from other incidents, the sky’s the limit on where it will go from here. All we know is that a conclusion has to be reached on what’s causing the shifter cable failure, and GM has to figure out whether it recognizes recalls for vehicles made both pre- and post-bankruptcy. Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)