DETROIT - General Motors is recalling nearly 60,000 Saturn Aura midsize cars because the automatic transmission shift levers can show the wrong gear, and says it has known about the problem for at least a year.
The problem, caused by failure of the transmission shift cable, has led to 28 crashes and four injuries but no deaths during the past seven years, GM said in a statement. The Auras can roll away unexpectedly because the driver may think the car is in "Park" when it's in another gear.
In a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, GM said it had a plan as of May 23, 2013, to reimburse owners for transmission cable repairs. It was unclear why the cars weren't recalled sooner.
This recall affects certain Auras from the 2007 and 2008 model years, mostly made in the U.S., with four-speed automatic transmissions.
The shift cable can fracture, according to GM. If the problem happens while the car is moving, the gear shift could show the wrong gear, and the driver won't be able to shift into "Park" or remove the ignition key.
GM says it will notify owners and replace the cable and mounting bracket at no cost to owners. The affected Auras were made between April 24, 2006 and Oct. 31, 2007, GM says.
In another action, GM is recalling 51,640 SUVs because the fuel gauges may show inaccurate readings. The recall involves the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia from the 2014 model year. All of the affected SUVs were built between March 26 and Aug. 15, 2013.
GM says the engine control module software can cause the gauge to read inaccurately. If that happens, the vehicle might run out of fuel and stall without warning.
GM says dealers will reprogram the software for free. The company will also notify owners by mail.