FCA’s confusing shifter linked to 68 injuries, US regulators say image

Following an investigation over the roll-away incidents triggered by FCA’s problematic gearshift, the US safety regulators said there were 68 reported injuries and 266 reported crashes.

In February, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has decided to escalate an inquiry over complaints that some Fiat Chrysler cars have a confusing gear selector, as many customers have reported that their cars are just rolling away. The safety agency said it has concluded its investigation and it found that 686 complaints and 266 crashes have been reported, with 68 injuries linked to the fact that drivers were exiting their cars without selecting the Park mode. The issue is with the electronic shifter of the ZF eight-speed auto transmission which acts like a joystick by always returning to its initial position, while gear-selection is conveyed to drivers by indicator lights. The automaker recalled 1.1 million 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs and Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans in April over the issue, some 811,000 of them in the US market.

FCA said that it would update the software which would automatically engage “park” if the driver opens the door. Last week, the company extend the recall to some 13,000 to Maserati sedans as well. Even if there were no fatalities reported, NHTSA said the recent death of “Star Trek” actor Anton Yelchin “may have been related to the alleged defect.” Yelchin was killed in an accident last week after his recalled 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled away and pinned him against a brick pillar.