Report: General Motors Agrees to Pay Saturn Owners for Continuously Variable Transmission Defects

The Sacramento Bee reported earlier this month that GM will pay owners of Saturn Ions and Vues equipped with continuously variable transmissions. "The class is composed of all United States residents who own or have owned a 2002 through 2005 model year Saturn Vue, new or used, equipped with a Vti transmission or a 2003 through 2004 model year Ion, new or used, equipped with a VTi transmission," wrote the newspaper. "Under the terms of the proposed agreement, General Motors is committed to reimbursing eligible current or former owners for repairs, car rentals, towing and trade-in losses relating to a VTi transmission." The paper says that 8,525 new Ions and Vues with CVT/VTi transmissions were sold in California during that period.

General Motors Corp. has agreed to pay an estimated $90 million or more to "tens of thousands" of motorists in all 50 states for expenses they incurred as a result of defective transmissions in more than 90,000 Saturn economy cars. The agreement by the manufacturing giant, if ultimately approved by a Sacramento federal judge, would resolve a class-action lawsuit targeting certain models of four-cylinder Saturn Vues and Ions. They are equipped with "VTi" transmissions. Unlike a conventional automatic transmission, which uses traditional gears to shift at a few fixed points, it is a "continuously variable" transmission that has a belt and pulley system to shift between gears. According to the suit's complaint, filed 11 months ago, the system makes the transmission "exceptionally prone to premature failure." U. S. District Judge William B. Shubb gave preliminary approval last week to the proposed agreement submitted to him by attorneys for General Motors and potential class members. Once the claim forms have gone out to potential class members and returned to the company, and each claimant's eligibility has been determined, the judge will hold a Feb. 17 hearing and issue a final ruling.

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GM: Vue-Based Buick SUV Has Been Canceled

Buick "Vue" Teaser Photo

General Motors announced earlier today that the Buick compact sport-utility, which the company announced and revealed just two weeks ago, has been canceled. The model was to be a near identical clone of the current Saturn Vue. It was generally panned by a select group of news media and bloggers who were given a sneak peak of the vehicle at a GM event in Detroit earlier this month (see teaser photo above). One reporter even went as far as dubbing the Saturn crossover with a Buick-inspired waterfall grill as the new "Vue-ick."