Saturn reportedly will voluntarily recall nearly all of its VUE sport utility vehicles, which regulators are investigating because the vehicle’s rear suspension failed during two government rollover tests.

According to the Associated Press (AP), the recall by the General Motors division affects 246,433 VUEs in the 2002-2004 model years, including 231,123 in the United States and 15,310 in Canada.

“We’re not pleased with this, and we’re working hard to see it never happens again,” GM vice chairman and chief financial officer John Devine reportedly said while attending an auto seminar in Traverse City. “Rather than talk about it, we’d rather fix it.”

AP noted that GM has had a spate of costly recalls this year involving several million vehicles, and cited higher recall costs as a drag on its second-quarter financial results released last month, but still earned $1.34 billion in the April-June quarter, up from $901 million a year ago.

The report said that, last month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the left-rear suspension failed on the four-wheel-drive and front-wheel-drive Saturn VUEs in June during a 45-mph test that includes a sharp turn – both times a wheel collapsed beneath the vehicle.

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Saturn reportedly said the VUE did not roll over during the test, but said the rear suspension was damaged when a wheel struck the pavement – it said it will make adjustments to strengthen the VUE’s suspension.

The Associated Press said Saturn retailers have begun calling VUE owners to alert them to the recall. VUE owners will be formally notified by a letter. They then will be advised when to bring in their VUEs so modifications can be made at no cost.

In addition, Saturn retailers will conduct consumer education clinics for VUE owners that will explain the test and how the suspension modification will help the VUE complete the NHTSA evaluation, the report added.

NHTSA spokesman Rae Tyson told AP the recall won’t immediately affect the status of the government’s investigation.

“We’ll leave the investigation open. We need to make sure the remedy they’re offering is going to satisfactorily address the issue,” Tyson reportedly said. “Certainly, we’re pleased that they’ve stepped forward and provided a remedy.”

The Associated Press noted that NHTSA this year began testing a vehicle’s tendency to roll over with a moving test. Before that, the agency measured rollover propensity using a mathematical formula based on a vehicle’s height and width. Under the old formula, the 2003 Saturn VUE received three out of five stars for rollover resistance. NHTSA hasn’t given the 2004 VUE a starred rating.

A Saturn spokeswoman told AP changes were made in the VUE production line starting last Monday.