The United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has closed a four-year investigation into 335,000 Saturn Ions (MY 2004-2007) after General Motors recalled them in March. The agency initially opened a preliminary evaluation of the power steering issue in January 2010. The Ion was among the 1.5 million cars that GM recalled on March 31 for potential loss of power steering.
The cars are also part of an unrelated recall of faulty ignition switches tied to at least 13 deaths. When the power-steering recall was announced, GM global vehicle safety chief Jeff Boyer admitted that the US carmaker had previously recalled other cars with the same issue and that GM "did not do enough."
NHTSA said it found 4,787 complaints and 30,560 warranty claims related to the Ion power steering recall issue, which means a complaint rate of 14.3 incidents per thousand vehicles and a warranty claim rate of 9.1 percent.
NHTSA documents filed in its online database showed that 12 crashes were tied to the Ion steering issue, with two resulting to driver injuries. Three of the crashes took place in parking lots and six occurred while turning at street intersections -- at speeds of less than 30 mph. One crash occurred on a highway exit ramp, which involved impact into a guard rail at about 35 mph.