Huge Fiat Chrysler recall after runaway injuries
Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger models require gear selector modifications
The runaways occur because the gear selector mechanism on certain 2012-2015 Dodge Charger, Chrysler 300 and Jeep Grand Cherokee models allows drivers to exit their vehicles after mistakenly believing they have selected Park mode. On the affected vehicles Park mode is confirmed only by indicator lights, and not by the position of the gear selector.
Most of the affected vehicles were sold in North America, but up to a quarter of a million cars are affected in other markets around the world, and the models under scrutiny have been sold in the UK too - some as personal imports, others through official channels.
The global recall has been instigated following investigation into more than 300 complaints by the US National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA). The organization says "investigation of the shifter in these vehicles showed it is clearly a safety issue that has led to hundreds of crashes and dozens of injuries.”
It is reported by news agency Reuters that 121 crashes have already been reported after cars rolled away while parked. Some hit buildings, other cars, or even their own drivers, and reports of injuries include three fractured pelvises and four other cases requiring hospitalisation.
The NHTSA tested the gear selector mechanism, and found it to be "not intuitive and provides poor tactile and visual feedback to the driver, increasing the potential for unintended gear selection."
We're not yet aware of any similar reported incidents in the UK. Fiat Chrysler says it began fitting improved selectors in the Charger and 300 from 2015, and the Grand Cherokee SUV from 2016.
Do you have one of the affected cars? Tell us in the comments...