FCA Announces Recall to Fix Confusing Shifters in Some Vehicles

#hashtags: #Fiat Chrysler Automobiles #Auto Park #Automotive News #Jeep #Chrysler

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced that it sent dealers new software with an “Auto Park” feature to remedy the confusing gear shifter issue in some of its vehicles, according to a new report from Automotive News. This will prevent the cars from moving when the vehicle is still in gear and the driver’s side door is open.

The new software update arrives just after the death of actor Anton Yelchin who was pinned between the mailbox at the end of his driveway and his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee that was likely not put into “Park.” Earlier this year, FCA announced that it was recalling vehicles with confusing shifters that may lead owners to accidentally leave their vehicles in gear and cause the car to roll away. NHTSA has reported that the shifter confusion has been the culprit in 117 alleged crashes that led to 28 injuries. Yelchin’s death is the first reported that’s linked to the confusing gear shifter. FCA is also claiming that the confusing shifters may have also caused 41 injuries. In total, FCA recalled 811,586 vehicles, which included 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2012-2014 Dodge Chargers and Chrysler 300s in the U.S.

A monostable shifter has been in use since 2015 on the Charger and 300, and from 2016 in the Grand Cherokee. This design has three positions and resets in the middle after the driver chooses between the different modes. Automotive News also indicates that NHTSA received over 300 complaints regarding the shifters. This includes 121 crashes that were the result of vehicles rolling away and striking buildings, drivers, and other vehicles on the road.

Maserati announced today that it would recall 2014 Ghibli and Quattroporte sedans manufactured from June 1, 2013 to February 28, 2014 because of misleading gear shifters. Like the Grand Cherokee, Charger, and 300, both Maserati sedans also come standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The automaker says that drivers may get confused and accidentally leave their vehicles in gear and could get hit by it should they get out and the parking brake is disengaged. Like the other FCA group brands affected by the gear shifter recall, Maserati will do a software update for free and will notify owners of the recall. A second notification will be sent out to owners once the update is ready and available for dealers to install in affected vehicles.

Source: NHTSA, Automotive News (Subscription required)