After having a few days to "cool off" and reevaluate things, I felt it only fair to come back and say that though I am still extremely upset with Saturn and still fully expect them to resolve this problem with my VUE, it is a bit harsh for me to say "I hate Saturn". I still expect things to be resolved a certain way, but Saturn deserves the chance to make things right before being executed in the public domain because before all of this happened, I really loved my car and being a Saturn owner- which is why this set of horrible occurrences has hurt so bad.
Saturn (especially Director of Marketing Sam Mancuso),
I've been a very happy Saturn VUE owner for the past year and 2 months. I own a 2002 VUE V6 AWD. As I've detailed here, I've had a string of very frightening and unacceptable problems with the car. Each of these occurrences have put me and/or my family in danger and yet the problem has not been resolved, even after spending a big chunk of money to get a replacement Engine Control Module (ECM). This expensive repair did nothing and left me stranded again the very same evening I picked the car up from the local dealership where the vehicle was purchased and all repairs have been completed.
Prior to the string of current issues that began on 12/22, approximately 6 months ago I took the car to the dealership for a routine oil change. While there, the service technician did his job and offered me a wheel rotation for a slight upcharge since the vehicle was already in the shop. I agreed and got the wheel rotation and oil change done. The very next day, while driving the vehicle to work, the rear passenger side wheel nearly fell off the car, but I was able to maintain control of the vehicle and pulled into a safe area off the freeway. It turns out that one of the wheel lug bolts had snapped off because the lug nuts had not been re-tightened after the rotation. One of the lug nuts came off and the excessive play in the wheel caused the bolt to snap off while I was driving. The remaining three lug nuts were on by a few threads and came off in my hand with barely more than one turn. The dealership, Saturn of Kearney Mesa, paid to have the car towed back to the shop and fixed the rear wheel. At that time it was determined that the remaining lug nuts on the other three wheels were not tightened to torque spec either- this was a potentially deadly combination. The dealership apologized and I accepted because I was happy with my car and the fact that the issue was handled immediately, though my confidence in the service capabilities was a bit "shaken".
Fast forward to the current situation where the engine shuts off and the power steering and brakes cut out. As mentioned previously, this problem has happened both with and without my family in the car with me and has endangered all of us not once or even twice, but 5 times now- 4 of those times after being inspected or serviced by the dealership. I do not think I am off the mark by feeling that this is totally unacceptable and that I should not be expected to pay for the repair that did nothing or expect to put my family back in the vehicle ever again. That particular option is not acceptable.
Currently, thanks to the involvement of Saturn corporate in Spring Hill, TN, I am driving a rental car that is being paid for by the local dealership (though I had to use my own credit card for the deposit that is supposed to be refunded when the car is returned). In defense of the people I have dealt with, I have been treated well by each person and can not say that any person has been impolite or rude or even dismissive. Jim the service consultant, Mark the service manager, Sheron with Saturn corporate customer service and Sierra the Area Manager at corporate have all been easy to deal with on a personal level. Each has done a good job of doing their job with a very upset consumer- me. As a former customer service and repair manager myself, I have a huge appreciation for good customer service. It is this good customer service, frankly, that has kept me from going straight to an attorney after the rear wheel incident 6 months ago. I think this needed to be mentioned in an attempt to be fair.
Saturn, you have a very good opportunity to do the right thing and make this situation right and turn me back into an evangelist for your brand. On a larger scale, General Motors, you too have a chance to improve your public image... which could certainly use the help these days. I have been a fan of Saturn for many years longer than I've been a Saturn driver due to Saturn's former title sponsorship of the Saturn professional cycling teams of years past. I have always tried to support those companies who support cycling and I was pretty proud of my decision to buy a Saturn. This is your chance to make me proud of that decision all over again. For the record- I really would prefer to be happy with my choice again.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter of hope.