FCA electronic shifter recall
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s investigation into the Monostable gear shifter used by a number of Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles is turning into a recall; FCA will recall approximately 1.1 million vehicles worldwide to modify the operation of the shifter that has now caused 121 accidents and 41 injuries.
The issue itself is not a fault of engineering but rather design, as the shifter returns to the default center position without giving the driver sufficient feedback as to the selected gear.
As a result, a number of owners have exited their vehicles thinking that they had put the vehicle into Park, while in reality it remained in Drive or Reverse position. The NHTSA has called the operation of the shifter “unintuitive” and had opened an investigation into the issue months ago.
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT gear shifter
FCA will recall Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger sedans from the 2012-14 model years, as well as Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs from the 2014-15 model years. For the 2016 and 2017 model year Jeep has already changed the design of the shifter, though it has not explicitly stated that it was in response to this issue. Other model years of the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger feature a rotary dial or a traditional automatic gear shifter that is not electronically actuated. A total of 811,586 vehicles in the U.S. will be recalled, with the rest sold in Canada, Mexico and other markets.
The automaker plans to change the behavior of the shifter by adding additional warning chimes that will trigger when the driver’s door is opened while the vehicle is not in Park, in addition to a software patch that will prevent the vehicle from moving under certain conditions even when Park is not selected.
Earlier this year, the NHTSA has expressed an opinion that “the Monostable shifter is not intuitive and provides poor tactile and visual feedback to the driver, increasing the potential for unintended gear selection,” but at the time it did not recommend a recall, even though some 30 injuries had been linked to this item.