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Saturn's Redesigned Sport Utility Vehicle Passes U.S. Rollover Test

August 24, 2004|From Associated Press

The redesigned Saturn Vue passed the government's rollover test with a score similar to other sport utility vehicles, federal regulators said Monday.

General Motors Corp. redesigned the Vue's rear suspension after the SUV failed two previous rollover tests. In both cases, a wheel collapsed beneath the vehicle.

The newer version earned three stars out of a possible five from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The four-wheel-drive Vue has a 20% chance of rolling over in a crash similar to the test, which includes a sharp turn at 45 mph, while the front-wheel-drive Vue has a slightly higher chance of flipping.

The best performer among 2004 SUVs was the Chrysler Pacifica, which earned four stars from NHTSA and had a 13% chance of rolling over. The worst was the front-wheel-drive Ford Explorer Sport Trac, which earned two stars and had a 34.8% chance of rolling over.

At least six people have told NHTSA they were injured because of the Vue's rear suspension problems. According to one report filed last month, a 2004 Vue's tire bent under it in a crash, causing the vehicle to tip over and spin around. The driver said the accident caused minor injuries and $10,500 in damage to the vehicle.

GM has recalled 246,433 Vues from the 2002-04 model years and is replacing suspension parts for free. The automaker began notifying customers of the recall this month. Vues made after July 30, when the redesign was implemented, are not affected.

GM spokesman Jim Schell wouldn't give the cost of the redesign and recall, but stressed that the company acted quickly to address the problems.

GM has had a spate of costly recalls this year involving several million vehicles. The world's No. 1 automaker cited higher recall costs as a drag on its second-quarter financial results released last month.

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