According to recent data, the faulty ignition problem started in what was supposed to be one of GM’s pivotal car, the 2003 Saturn Ion.
The Saturn Ion made its debut two years before the Chevrolet Cobalt, which is the most associated model with the recent recall of 2.6 million vehicles. The Ion was also the first vehicle with a faulty ignition switch which caused more than 30 accidents and 13 deaths, by turning off engines and disabling airbags.
The vehicle was GM’s model to rival the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla and it had a starting price of $12,000. The automaker relied on the all-new Ion to be the standard bearer for the import troubled Saturn brand and also the future guard for the Delta, a new family of compacts.
Unfortunately, GM compromised its own plan due to its pressure to stick to a schedule, desire to cut bloated costs and fractious partnership with parts maker Delphi Automotive. It seems that all the vehicles affected by the recall are reflected in Saturn Ion’s troubled beginning.
Although Delphi alerted the automaker that the switches did not meet its standards and would have cost only $1 a piece. But this would have translated in hundreds of thousands of dollars for plant retooling and also an unwanted delay in the Ion’s launch.
There were more than 550 people who complained to the NHTSA that the company had put their lives at risk when the engines of their Saturn Ion vehicles inexplicably stalled.
Production of the Ion ended on March 27, 2007.