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1.1 Million Fiat Chrysler cars recalled owing to confusing transmission shifter

Jeep Grand Cherokee 5

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is one of the models affected by the recall

Imagine parking your car at the parking lot and it rolls away after you exit. Scary isn’t it? Well, that’s what is actually happening to Fiat Chrysler’s Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep models. This issue has reportedly received 314 complaints that includes 121 crashes in February itself and has even caused 41 injuries; the carmaker has therefore announced to recall over 1.1 million cars and SUVs across the globe. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles claims that the vehicles do not have any mechanical issues and that the cars have been recalled solely due to a confusing transmission shifter. All the affected cars are equipped with an 8-speed automatic transmission sourced from ZF.

The models affected are- 2014-15 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV, and 2012-14 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedan. An estimate of total number of cars affected are- 8, 11,586 units in US, 16,805 units in Mexico, 5214 units in Canada, and 2,48,667 units in several other parts of the world. As per the explanation provided by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), the console-mounted shifter operates like a rocker switch which resumes back to the middle position once moved which led to confusion whether the car was in park mode or drive mode. So as the drivers exited without selecting park mode, the car rolled away.

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Measures taken by FCA to overcome this problem are- enhanced warning sound on affected models and also alert message display in case the driver side door is opened while the engine is on. The transmission won’t allow the car to move if the door remains open, even if the park mode has not been selected. What sounds strange here is that the 2016 model year line-up of Chrysler 300, Cherokee and Charger models are not a part of recall. The customers with the affected car will be contacted directly. The carmaker has meanwhile requested customers to go through the car manual and follow said instructions for correct usage of the gear shifter.