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Jeep, Chrysler models caught up in roll away recall

Safety first: One million Jeep Grand Cherokees, Chrysler 300s and Dodge Chargers have been called in for a global safety recall.

Chrysler 300 and Jeep Grand Cherokee models recalled over 'shift strategy' issue

Chrysler logo26 Apr 2016

By TIM NICHOLSON

UPDATED: 27/04/2016FIAT Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has issued a worldwide recall of more than 1.1 million cars and SUVs over an issue relating to automatic transmission shifters that could cause the vehicles to roll away after the occupants have exited.

The models affected by the recall include the 2012-2014 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedan and the 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV.

In the US alone, 811,586 vehicles are impacted, with 52,144 in Canada, 16,805 in Mexico and 248,667 outside North America, totalling 1,129,202.

A statement from FCA Australia said the there is no recorded incidents in Australia, and added that owners of affected Chrysler 300s and Jeep Grand Cherokees will be contacted by the company.

“FCA Australia is unaware of any local incidents or injuries relating to customers inadvertently exiting their vehicle while not in park. FCA US LLC is aware aware of 41 injuries that are potentially related. The vehicles involved in these events were inspected and no evidence of equipment failure was found,” the statement read.

“Affected customers will be notified by FCA Australia and asked to attend their local service centre to have their vehicle’s warnings and transmission-shift strategy enhanced.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the United States conducted an investigation that found that some drivers mistakenly believed that they had put the vehicles into park before exiting, which has then caused the car to move.

The “rocker” style automatic T-bar transmission selector centres itself, which removes the visual indication as to its selected position, which is what has caused some drivers to exit the vehicle without correctly selecting park.

FCA said that it is aware of 41 injuries that are “potentially” related to the transmission shift issue, but that the vehicles involved in the incidents “were inspected and no evidence of equipment failure was found”.

“The vehicles affected by this recall are equipped with electronic shift levers that return to the same position after each manipulation. Gear-selection is conveyed to the driver by multiple sets of indicator lights, not gear-selector position, and unless due care is taken, drivers may draw erroneous conclusions about the status of their vehicles,” an FCA statement says.

The automotive giant said that the vehicles deliver warning chimes and alert messages if the driver's door is open while the engine is running and park is not engaged, but the NHTSA investigation said this may be insufficient for some people to leave their car without selecting park.

Because of this, FCA says it will “enhance” the warnings and transmission shift strategies on the models affected, which will include a strategy that automatically prevents the vehicle from moving “under certain circumstances, even if the driver fails to select park”.

FCA started equipping the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 with a new shift-lever design in 2015 to address customer satisfaction issues, while the Grand Cherokee's was updated in 2016.

The car-maker has also encouraged owners to follow the instructions in their owner's manual for ensuring park is selected.

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