The Saturn Vue sports utility vehicle reportedly is under investigation by US federal regulators after its rear suspension failed rollover tests last month.
According to CBS Marketwatch, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that a wheel collapsed on both the four-wheel drive and front-wheel drive Vues during “fishhook” turns at 45 miles per hour.
NHTSA spokesperson Liz Neblett reportedly said that the investigation, which was opened on July 22, is in the “lowest rung, preliminary,” stage.
“At this point of the evaluation, we ask the manufacturer for other problems they might have had, other complaints, warranty information, etc.,” Neblett told CBS Marketwatch.
The agency reportedly also cited the case of a driver not associated with the test, whose vehicle rolled over under similar circumstances – the complaint stated that the accident caused the rear wheel to bend underneath the 2003 model.
CBS Marketwatch said consumer advocacy groups like the Centre for Auto Safety and Public Citizen reportedly called on GM to voluntarily recall the vehicles because the tests show a design flaw.
More than 200,000 Saturn Vues have been sold since the 2002 model first came onto the market, the report said, citing Edmunds.com.
Brian Moody, Edmunds.com’s road test editor, told CBS Marketwatch he didn’t necessarily agree with the call for immediate action.
“This is still way too early to be that big of a deal,” Moody reportedly said. “Look at the amount of Vues they’ve sold in the past few years. There could be thousands of explanations as to why this happened.”
Moody also noted that the government’s new moving tests might begin to yield different results from prior methods, which were mostly formulaic in nature, CBS Marketwatch noted.