One Man’s Investigation Made General Motors Recall Saturn And Pontiac Cabriolets

Saturn and Pontiac are yesterday’s news. Both brands met the same fate in 2010, following the restructuring of “Old GM” into the General Motors that’s at the top of U.S. auto sales today. And to some extent, that’s the thing with Saturn and Pontiac: they’re kind reminders that Old GM was a bit of a mess.
Saturn Sky 11 photos
Pontiac SolsticePontiac SolsticePontiac SolsticePontiac SolsticePontiac SolsticeSaturn SkySaturn SkySaturn SkySaturn SkySaturn Sky
It’s been eight years since GM applied for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and in this time, a lot has changed for the better with the Unites States’ most sizable auto manufacturer. The entire industry changed forever, actually, and that change for the better was hurried by the ignition switch scandal, Takata scandal, and Volkswagen’s biggest mess-up to date: the Dieselgate scandal.

But even if Mary Barra managed to set General Motors on a positive course following reorganization, the ghosts of the past still haunt GM. Case in point: a story from Automotive News that puts an emphasis on how one man, with his limited powers and know-how, convinced GM to perform a safety recall.

Troy Lyman is his name, and after years of seeing GM sitting idly and doing nothing about the failing airbag sensors in the passenger seats of the Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice, he started his own investigation into the matter. In the end, the one-man investigation turned into a 67-page report that, believe it or not, grabbed the attention of the U.S.’ car safety watchdog: the NHTSA.

The peeps over at the NHTSA promptly “opened an investigation” into the matter based on the said report, “and eight months later, GM issued a recall of 91,007 Solstice and Sky convertibles.” So why is this guy’s feat worth any attention from us lot? Automotive News hits the nail on the head, as follows:

“The fact that neither GM - whose safety practices are being supervised by a federally appointed monitor - nor NHTSA took action until a member of the public forced the issue shows how much the industry still struggles to identify and fix defects, even with a renewed emphasis on safety and amid abundant evidence.”

Indeed, ladies and gentlemen. The industry still has a lot to learn following the world-class scandals mentioned a few paragraphs above, but overall, things are looking brighter from the consumer’s standpoint. Much brighter than when Saturn and Pontiac were still alive and kicking, but only just.


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories