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DETROIT (AP) - Government documents show that General Motors waited years to recall nearly 335,000 Saturn Ions for power steering failures despite getting thousands of consumer complaints and warranty repair claims.

Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration didn't seek a recall of the 2004-2007 compact cars even though it opened an investigation more than two years ago. The government's auto safety watchdog found the problem caused 12 crashes and two injuries.

The documents, posted on the NHTSA's website Saturday, show yet another delay by GM in recalling unsafe vehicles. It's also another example of government regulators reacting slowly to a safety problem despite being alerted by consumers and the company's warranty data.

GM and NHTSA were criticized for their response to a deadly ignition-switch problem in more than 2.6 million small cars.

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