Like an unoccupied Dodge Charger stuck within “Drive,” Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ gear selector controversy was rapidly creating momentum before yesterday’utes announcement.
Responding to numerous instances of runaway vehicles as well as an expanding National Freeway Traffic Safety Management investigation, FCA voluntarily remembered 811,586 vehicles in the U.S. and 52,144 in Canada, along with a further 265,473 in Mexico and overseas.
The remembered models – certain 2012-2014 Dodge Chargers and Chrysler 300s, and 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees – were designed with the company’s eight-speed automated transmission and featured a gear selector that bewildered many proprietors. Some drivers exited their vehicles after mistakenly believing the selector was in “Park,” resulting in 41 known injuries.
In a statement, FCA said the actual accidents were because of driver error, and emphasized that the gear selectors?- though confusing?- functioned because designed:
The vehicles impacted by this recall are equipped with electronic shift levers that return to the same position after each adjustment. Gear-selection is conveyed to the driver by several sets of indicator lighting, not gear-selector position, and unless due treatment is taken, drivers may draw erroneous conclusions about the standing of their vehicles.
The automaker stopped using the equipment selector after complaints piled up. The NHTSA began investigating those complaints last summer.
FCA said an alert chime sounds when the impacted vehicle’s engine is actually running, the driver’utes side door is actually ajar and the gear selector has run out of Park, but that warning will be improved.
Other safety measures are prepared, though the automaker remains vague on exactly what the fix will be. In their words, “The enhancements will combine alerts with a transmission-shift strategy to automatically prevent a vehicle motionless, under certain circumstances, even if the driver fails to select “PARK.”