Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced a recall to rectify an issue in some of its cars, concerning a ‘confusing’ gear shifter. The auto maker states it sent its dealers a new ‘Auto Park’ software, to help fix the issue, in hopes that it can avoid these vehicles from moving when the car is in gear, and the door on the driver’s side is open.
Sadly, the new software has been released of the cusp of the tragic accidental death of Anton Yelchin, film and T.V. actor, who was trapped between his driveway and mailbox, when his Jeep Grand Cherokee (2015) was possibly not in ‘park’ shift. Early in 2016, FCA stated it was recalling cars with these confusing shifters, that could potentially cause owners to leave their vehicles in gear; accidentally causing them to roll away.
MSN advises that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also recently stated that the confused gear shifter has apparently resulted in about 117 crashes, and 28 injuries. It’s important to note, that Yelchin’s death is the first accident that has been reported in connection with the gear shifter. FCA is also stating that the confusing gear shifters could have possibly caused 41 injuries, in total. All in all, over 811,000 FCA cars are being recalled, which include 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees, as well as 2012-2014 Dodge Chargers and Chrysler 300’s.
The Charger and 300 has used a monostable shifter since 2015, and the Grand Cherokee has had one since 2016. This shifter has three position, and is able to reset in the middle, after the driver chooses from the various modes. Unfortunately, NHTSA has had over 300 complaints, as it relates to these gear shifters. Within those 300, 121 have resulted in crashes due to vehicles rolling and then hitting drivers, buildings, or other cars on the road.
Related to this FCA issue, Maserati announced a recall on its sedans, the 2014 Ghibli and Quattroporte, built from June 2013 to February 2014 last week, for similar gear shifter problems. The company stated, much like the FCA, that drivers could get confused, and leave their cars in gear, which could result in accidents. Maserati too, will offer a free software update, and alert owners to this recall. Another alert will then be sent to owners affected by this issue, once the software is ready to be installed into recalled cars, at dealer sites.