GM Claims Plaintiffs are Fabricating Evidence in Texas Lawsuit Over Faulty Ignition Switch
With Volkswagen’s Dieselgate scandal taking up all the headlines, it was pretty easy for GM’s ignition switch problem to be overshadowed. Well, now that all the hype over VW has started to subdue a bit, GM is back in the headlines again. This time, however, it isn’t for another death or another new lawsuit, but because it is trying to get the judge to dismiss the first civil case being brought against it in Texas over the ignition switch issue.
Five years ago, Zachary Stevens was driving his 2007 Saturn Sky when he crashed into another vehicle, subsequently killing its driver. Stevens had manslaughter charges brought against him, but after claiming that the ignition switch rotation caused him to crash, and GM initiated a voluntary recall, the charge was ultimately dropped. As such, Stevens proceeded to file a civil lawsuit against GM, claiming it was at fault for the accident.
In GM’s initial filing, it claims that Stevens initially said he was driving with just a few items attached to his key, but the key shown to jurors more recently included a few more items like a gym membership car and an Eiffel Tower Souvenir. On top of that, GM is also claiming that the key itself did not, in fact, belong to the vehicle that was involved in the accident – claiming that Steven’s has “fabricated evidence” and that the alleged misstatements have “hamstrung the search for the truth.”
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Ford owners aren’t the only ones who need to go pay a visit to their local dealerships. General Motors has a fix for one of their smaller cars. There are many reasons why cars are recalled by their manufacturers. Whether it’s a faulty engine or gearbox problems, auto makers are being extra careful these days with the fear of losing its customer base over the most minor of infractions.
Having said that, it comes as no surprise to us anymore that about 44,451 Saturn Vue models are being sent back to production plants because of…wait for it…sticky door handles.
Continued after the jump.
We like to think that the U.S. has all the cars that anyone could ever want, but one quick look around the Geneva Auto Show proved very wrong. Of course I knew that we do not sell all the brands in the world, but the show gave a physical representation of how much we were missing out on.
There are plenty of brands out there with production capacity, but no U.S. distribution chain. That’s when I remembered Saturn will soon be broken off from General Motors, and it will be a distribution chain in need of a product.
Those who have read my commentaries before know Saturn holds a special place in my heart, so I am a little bias about keeping it in business. Also many would argue that the conditions U.S. economy would not favor a new car expansion. But I think this is goes to the heart of Warren Buffet-style investment strategy: if others are scaling back, then its time to expand.
It will of course sound simple on paper, but it’s sill worth taking a look at what some of there companies may have to offer…
Okay time to get creative. The Opel GT and the Saturn Sky are basically the same car. So performance parts built for the one should probably fit the other.
Lexmaul, the German tuner, has a do-it-yourself kit for the Opel that comes with a PPC box that can enhance the potency of the engine with the flip of a programming switch. The Lexmaul tuning kit can increase the 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder (also in the Sky Red Line) from 264 hp to 312 hp. The Lexmaul Opel GT is also has a lowering kit that lowers the ride height by 30 mm. So if you’ve got a Sky Red Line that’s getting dusted on the street, time to brush up on your German.
Green Car Journal editors have chosen 5 cars from the 2009 new car line-up. The rules for eligibility are simple. "Vehicles using all types of technologies, fuels, and powerplants are eligible for the Green Car of the Year program. To qualify for consideration as a nominee, a vehicle must exhibit characteristics that substantially raise the bar in environmental performance and be in production by January 1 of the award year."
The cars chosen where the BMW 335d, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Saturn Vue 2 Mode Hybrid, Smart ForTwo, and Volkswagen Jetta TDI. One of these models will be named the 2009 green car of the year at the Los Angeles Auto Show on November 20th.
Second model to be unveiled by Saturn at the SEMA Show is the Saturn VUE Greenline built by Sound Choice and Performance. On building the car, the company focused on the function and ease of use. This business class SUV offers modern tech and entertainment.
The Saturn VUE Greenline Hyline comes with cold air intake and stainless steel exhaust. On the exterior it features Saturn redline front fascia, custom under belly pans, stainless steel grill and side vent mesh, custom rear wing, custom rear hatch bumper molding, HID head lights and fog lights, LED’s installed on all other lights.
On the interior: VIP style in-car computer, computer controlled windows, ride height, lights, alarm, audio, internet and much more.
GM will unveil at the SEMA Show this "Cool to be green" project created by R. Bottom Design. This Saturn Vue can be powered by either propane or gasoline fuel. Its LPG injection system is clean and efficient. Solar panels on the roof provide charging of the electric assist battery pack.
Outside, the car keeps green with water based paint. But don’t think this is a hippie-mobile, the interior is customized with leather/raphia fiber seats, DVD radio head unit with navigation, and plenty of amps and speakers.
Since 2004, General Motors has sold this version of the Astra around the world through different companies like Opel, Vauxhall and Holden. Last year Saturn got its own version of the world car. For 2009 the Astra gets updated to keep it in line with its foreign cousins.
The Saturn Astra is offered in three-door and five-door models, each featuring a taut, European derived suspension that delivers a sharp, responsive driving experience. Power comes from a 1.8L, 138 hp four-cylinder engine, and highway fuel economy for the manual transmission-equipped Astra is rated at 32 mpg; 30 for Astras with the available automatic.
The Saturn Astra comes in two trim levels (XE and XR) for five-door models, and a single trim (XR) in the three-door configuration.
Press release after the jump.
If you can’t get you hands on a Tesla Roadster, there may be a new option — an electric Saturn Sky. Advanced Mechanical Products (AMP) out of Ohio has plans to convert 300 Skys. AMP says the cars can travel roughly 150 miles on a single charge, go 0 to 60 in under six seconds, and can reach a top speed of 90 MPH. The cost of the conversion and vehicle comes to around $50,000.
Did you know the Tesla Roadster and this electric Sky are very distant cousins? The Tesla was based on the Lotus Elise, which was also the basis for the Opel Speedster/Vauxhall VX220. A front-engined concept was developed for the VX220, and that became the basis for the Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky.
We all know the U.S. auto companies are bleeding cash, and that changes will need to be made to keep them in business. At General Motors, it’s no secret that Hummer is no longer a cash cow and being sold. Now the Wall Street Journal is reporting that other brands such as Buick, Saturn, and Saab, may be slated for elimination. In fact, its been reported that all GM brands, with the exception of Cadillac and Chevrolet, are not yet safe from the chopping block. Each brand’s safety should be up for review at GM’s board of director’s meeting in early August.
Even if the current Saturn Aura had an imposing launch in 2006, sales were much under expectations. Next generation was supposed to be launched in mid 2009 as a 2010 model and built on the Epsilon II platform. The European version of the future Saturn Aura is the newly launched Opel Insignia. It seems that GM has second thoughts about the launch of the future Aura and decided to put the project on hold.
According to GM Inside News, the company didn’t come with an explanation on why such a decision was made, considering it’s pretty odd to come with such a change so close to the product’s launch.
For 2009, the Saturn Aura midsize sport sedan demonstrates that fuel efficiency-minded customers don’t have to sacrifice uplevel amenities such as a six-speed automatic transmission, leather seating, alloy wheels and Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, as a new 2.4L four-cylinder Aura XR model joins the Saturn family.
Saturn also has good news for those seeking to go further on a gallon of gas: Both Aura XE and XR four-cylinder models achieve EPA fuel economy of 33 mpg highway and 26 mpg city/highway combined, the segment’s highest non-hybrid fuel economy.
Other enhancements to the Aura lineup for 2009 include standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control on every model and an efficient six-speed transmission on every model except the Aura Hybrid.
The four Saturn Aura models include: the 2.4L I-4 XE and XR; the 3.6L V-6 XR and the 2.4L I-4 Aura featuring the affordable GM Hybrid system.