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GM recalls about 60,000 Saturns to fix gear shifts

By Tom Krisher
May. 6, 2014 9:10AM

DETROIT (AP) - General Motors is recalling nearly 60,000 Saturn Aura midsize cars because the automatic transmission shift levers can show the wrong gear, and says it has known about the problem for at least a year.

The problem, caused by failure of the transmission shift cable, has led to 28 crashes and four injuries but no deaths during the past seven years, GM said in a statement issued Tuesday. The Auras can roll away unexpectedly because the driver may think the car is in "Park" when it's in another gear.

In a letter detailing the recall submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, GM said it had a plan as of May 23, 2013, to reimburse owners for transmission cable repairs. It was unclear why the cars weren't recalled sooner.

Spokesman Alan Adler said he wasn't aware of the plan referred to in the letter. "We're continuing to review this with NHTSA even now," he said. "They know what we're doing."

GM is already dealing with the delayed recall of 2.6 million small cars due to a deadly ignition switch problem. Two congressional committees, the Justice Department and NHTSA are investigating how GM handled that problem, which it knew about for at least a decade before deciding to recall the cars in February.

GM says at least 13 people have died in crashes linked to the switch problem, but trial lawyers have at least 53 wrongful death lawsuits pending against the company.

This latest recall affects certain Auras from the 2007 and 2008 model years, mostly made in the U.S., with four-speed automatic transmissions.

GM says the shift cable can fracture. If the problem happens while the car is moving, the gear shift could show the wrong gear, and the driver won't be able to shift into "Park" or remove the ignition key.

The cars affected by the recall were previously covered by a 10-year, 120,000-mile extended warranty. But drivers had to have the problem for the coverage to kick in. Similar vehicles, including some Auras and the nearly identical Chevrolet Malibu and Pontiac G6, were part of a recall for a similar problem in 2012.

GM says it will notify owners and replace the cable and mounting bracket at no cost to owners. GM hasn't determined yet when repair parts will be available.

GM says the affected Auras were made between April 24, 2006 and Oct. 31, 2007. GM stopped making Saturn vehicles in 2009 as it headed into bankruptcy protection.

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fralano34 May 07 2014 at 2:51 AM

My wife's 2004 Saturn stopped in the middle of an intersection and was almost hit by two cars. Saturns were good cars at one time. That time left us long ago since they don't make Saturns anymore. We bought 2 of them in 2004. Gm products suck. Still waiting for the recall parts. Our dealership says GM is going by the last 8 numbers of the VIN. What a joke. Lets all get Japanese cars.

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1 reply
teleqsal fralano34 May 07 2014 at 6:13 AM

I can't imagine anyone wanting to buy a GM car. I used to buy nothing but GM butI wouldn't buy one now.

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M.A.P May 06 2014 at 4:12 PM

More problems for GM and they just keep rolling in. Yet they still make around 26.00 per hour and continue to get bonuses , while they still haven't paid of the bail out no matter what people may believe. Go figure.

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dan_crabtree May 06 2014 at 3:38 PM

I just donated to goodwill a few pair of jeans i bought back in 07 and 08 worn out somewhat but still useable...after all that was seven going on eight years ago...

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dan_crabtree May 06 2014 at 3:34 PM

all in all was a great little car...dooomed by obama as well as pontiac and hummer also a great vehicle as the hummer h-3 was and as I bought a brand new h-3 in 08 a great ride indeed almost three feet of snow ...no problem..identical to todays landrover that big money stands in line to to buy today and cannot for the life of me guess where landrover stole there ideas from.. as well as toyota...same-oh same-oh..steal from one put it on our vehicles and call it something new..

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1 reply
bootsnchaps60 dan_crabtree May 06 2014 at 8:36 PM

Actually GM doomed the cars you listed through incompetent management and fixating on besting Toyota for tops in sales rather than creating quality cars. The dumbest thing was allowing GM to keep the two editions of the same truck.

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aarvf May 06 2014 at 2:33 PM

I am the original owner of Saturn 1993 SC2...still running and rides great...estimate around today 140,000 miles on it (sadly the odometer stopped working during 104,000 miles). Very few minor repairs. Wonderful car!

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2 replies
randy aarvf May 06 2014 at 6:43 PM

I had a 1993 2 door 5 speed that I bought brand new from a Saturn dealership in Salem, VA....when I brought it into the dealership for my "religiously" every 3000 mile oil-change they took pictures of it, as it had by then, rolled over 275,000 miles on the odometer. I swapped it at 300,000 with a mechanic who was putting a clutch in my 1975 F-150 because a deer had " hit the car" while my daughter was driving it up our driveway 7 years later, and the windshield, driver's-side view mirror, driver's side window, passenger's side rear view mirror and back passenger window were more ($$$$) than the car was worth. I bought the car when she was 10 (She said, "Dad, I feel like a queen" on her 1st (and only - for both of us - ride in a brand new car ) and the deer ran into the car when she was 17. We still see the car 10 years later (burning oil) running around our small town. For several years we could pick it out by it's trim, sunroof, and lack of passenger side view mirror.

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Michael Jaye aarvf May 06 2014 at 7:23 PM

It is - as I posted earlier I have a 1994 SL2 - odometer broke at 330,387. It has original clutch and engine has never been worked on. I can still smoke the tires in 1st gear and it tops out at 111 before the governor kicks in.... It is indeed a wonderful car!

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NicktheMan May 06 2014 at 2:24 PM

All of these problems, and yet GM workers get ON AVERAGE $62.00 an hour wages and benefits. When I heard that, I decided then and there that I was done with GM and probably most of the American car market. That is simply too much money to pay people to make deathtraps.

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3 replies
duddly42 May 06 2014 at 2:16 PM

Scary. Seems like GM is in another death spiral, so sad!

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cvanac8550 May 06 2014 at 1:54 PM

I love reading about people having problems with their cars .I also wonder how they were maintained and the mileage on them.....

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2 replies
jontrentj cvanac8550 May 06 2014 at 2:14 PM

these are RECALLS genius.

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1 reply
cvanac8550 jontrentj May 06 2014 at 2:17 PM

Like the guy complaining about his 1999 Saturn ......your the JO ..

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ronaldpgh cvanac8550 May 06 2014 at 2:33 PM

Boom to you -- I own one, and I ain't laughing. ;-(

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carmerlot May 06 2014 at 1:49 PM

My Saturn is a 1994 SC1 and it has around 250,000 miles on it...original clutch.
The car runs like a well oiled machine, which by the way, I need to put oil in it every 3 weeks along with coolant...I would buy another one....best car I've owned!

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3 replies
Sue and Dave May 06 2014 at 4:28 PM

I will never buy another GM vehicle again....ever....since my safety is of no concern to them...let them rot away into bankruptcy

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1 reply
bootsnchaps60 Sue and Dave May 06 2014 at 8:32 PM

Already did that and dumped Saturn into "old" GM.

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