Federal safety regulators have upgraded and widened an investigation into Saturn Aura cars over a transmission shift cable that could fail and cause the park gear to not fully engage. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is upgrading its probe from a preliminary evaluation to an engineering analysis of General Motors Co. cars to evaluate the frequency of shift cable failure, the consequences, and the scope of vehicles that may be affected. The Saturn brand was discontinued by GM in 2009.
NHTSA is investigating problems with the automatic shift levers on several General Motors cars. The probe began with the Saturn Aura midsize car from the 2007 and 2008 model years, affecting nearly 89,000 vehicles. But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into the same problem with other GM cars. The 2004-2008 Chevrolet Malibu and the 2005-2008 Pontiac G6 have similar shifting systems.
According to NHTSA, in some cases the floor shift lever may not match the car’s gear. That means a driver could put the car in park, but the transmission could actually be in drive or reverse. Seven crashes and one injury have been reported to the agency and General Motors. The automaker says the problem mainly affects models with four-speed transmissions.
An engineering analysis is the second step in a process that could lead to a recall if regulators determine that a safety issue needs to be addressed by a manufacturer. According to NHTSA, it had received 23 complaints and GM another 111 — although some of those were duplicates — including seven reports of crashes and one injury. The agency said the consumer complaints it received covered model years 2007 and 2008, while those GM received covered 2007 models only.
Source: Claims Journal
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