FCA to recall 1.1 million vehicles due to Monostable e-shifter confusion, 41 injuries

rickhamilton620

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USA Today said:
Fiat Chrysler says it is recalling 1.1 million vehicles, including 811,586 midsize SUVs and full-size cars in the U.S., to try to alleviate confusion about when the vehicle's transmissions are in the "park" position, which has resulted in 41 injuries.

Drivers have been getting out of the vehicles without shifting into park while the engine is still running. The problem involves vehicles with electronic shift levers on their consoles that spring back to the same position after being shifted. Drivers can't tell by looking at the position of the shifter whether it is in "park." They have to depend on indicator lights, Fiat Chrysler says.

In the U.S., The recall involves certain 2012 to 2014 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans and 2014 and 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs. The recall will include an estimated 52,144 vehicles in Canada, 16,805 in Mexico, and 248,667 elsewhere outside the U.S.

The recall results from an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which was joined by Fiat Chrysler. It appears to have acted on complaints.

One owner in Walton, Ind., said they left their 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee running when dropping off a DVD when they thought they had pushed the shifter in the right direction. "My 23-year-old son was in the passenger seat and yelled out, 'Dad, the car is moving," he wrote. "I jumped back in and put my foot on the brake and watched the shift indicator as I slowly moved the shifter up so it indicated 'park.'"

The confusion also doesn't appear to be limited to shifting the vehicle into park. A driver in Rochester Hills, Mich., says they became confused about whether vehicle was in reverse gear.

"Intending to back into my driveway, I shifted into reverse," they wrote in their complaint. "The vehicle was not in reverse and crashed into the vehicle that was parked...across the street."

Even though there are chimes and alert messages that sound when the driver's side door opens while the engines are running while not in park, the automaker says the warnings may be insufficient. Fiat Chrysler says it will enhance the warnings and modify the settings in the transmission so the vehicle won't move under certain conditions if it is in park.
Source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2016/04/22/fiat-chrysler-orders-huge-car-suv-recall-after-41-injuries/83398618/

The same ZF "Monostable" shift lever is used in some Audi products, but they have a feature that sets the parking brake when the door is opened and the car is in any gear outside of Park.

EDIT: I just reviewed a 2014 300 owner's manual - it appears that these vehicles do not come with Chrysler's "SafeHold" feature that debuted on the 200. That applies the parking brake when the door is opened and the car is left in gear.
 
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JCE

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I'm sorry but you are an idiot if you get out of your car without verifying the parking brake is engaged or verify what gear you are in before using the accelerator. I own one of these affected vehicles and I do not have this issue due to common sense. The EVIC in the instrument cluster and the letters on the shifter clearly state what gear you are in. I already posted about this i think here so I'll leave it at that. I will not participate in this recall, because, reasons.
 

CrzRsn

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I'm amazed they don't do the same thing as Lincoln does with our putton based shifter - if the door is opened with the vehicle still in park, the car auto shifts to P, unless the driver's seatbelt is buckled.
 

rickhamilton620

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The interim fix for this was/is a sun-visor mounted card:



Credit: TTAC - http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/06/adventures-recalls-fcas-visor-tips-card/

However, this may have come too late for one:

TTAC said:
According to multiple news reports, promising young actor Anton Yelchin, known for his portrayal of Chekhov in the reborn Star Trek movie series, was killed when his Jeep Grand Cherokee pinned him against his mailbox at his driveway security gate.

The Jeep was parked on a steep hill but found in neutral gear when he was discovered dead.


Considering recent recalls with Fiat Chrysler Automobile shifters, could a badly designed shifter have killed the 27 year old? And could this be the first death attributable to the design flaw?

FCA?s Monostable shift lever acts unlike a traditional gear shifter. When it?s shifted into park, the lever returns to the middle position, regardless of whether it was placed in park or not.


The design flaw prompted a recall that included 2014-15 Jeep Grand Cherokees as well as 2012-14 Dodge Chargers and Chrysler 300s as affected models. At the time of the recall, 121 accidents and 41 injuries were attributed to the flaw.


The model year of the Jeep Grand Cherokee in this unfortunate incident has not been detailed by police or friends of Yelchin.


Update: CBS News is reporting the following:


Los Angeles police told CBS News the vehicle involved was a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Source: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/06/defective-jeep-kill-anton-yelchin/

Not looking too good for FCA at the moment...your car (the cash cow "'murican Range Rover" no less) killing a celebrity is definitely not a good thing.
 

_HighVoltage_

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This will definitely be bad publicity, even though it seems that there is nothing mechanically/electronically wrong with the vehicles. Owner's being confused...that's their fault.
 

Eunos_Cosmo

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I disagree that it's the owner's fault. It's also not a mechanical fault. It's a design fault.

This was a very poorly designed shifter mechanism. If, for instance, an auto maker switched the position of the accelerator pedal and brake pedal it would most certainly cause damage/death given enough people, despite a lack of a discrete mechanical problem. While this shifter isn't quite at this level of inexplicable dumbassery, you can't just make something that operates nearly but not quite similar to something they've used most of their life and expect them not to make mistakes purely out of habit/muscle memory.

While yes, I agree that it is abstractly the owner's fault, it will almost certainly be FCA's legal fault for, most likely, negligent design.
 
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thomas

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I still stick to it being spread about like this:
- 80% of people just being too fucking stupid to use their car. When people leave their manuals in neutral and forget the parking brake and it rolls away they are also just called stupid.
- 20% of some dipshit deciding to cut safety features probably literally every other manufacturer with this gearbox has, like a separate P button, or at the very least throwing the car in P by force when opening the door. Because you have no fucking business driving with an open door. If this is what you need to see something, you are doing it wrong.
 

93Flareside

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Having the shifter rock back into a neutral position us dumb but, the owners not verifying they're in park when the indicator is in front of your face is your own fault.
 

SquareLeft

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Having the shifter rock back into a neutral position us dumb but, the owners not verifying they're in park when the indicator is in front of your face is your own fault.
It's a machine. If you buy it, lease it, borrow it or even just use it once; you should damn well educate yourself on how it works. If you're not smart enough to do that, (1) it's your own fault and (2) you probably shouldn't be driving in the first place.

SL
 

thomas

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It's a machine. If you buy it, lease it, borrow it or even just use it once; you should damn well educate yourself on how it works. If you're not smart enough to do that, (1) it's your own fault and (2) you probably shouldn't be driving in the first place.

SL
QFT
 

captain_70s

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Drivers can't tell by looking at the position of the shifter whether it is in "park." They have to depend on indicator lights, Fiat Chrysler says.
Luckily the gift of sight isn't required to drive, neither is paying any attention to your actions.

No, wait...
 

Redliner

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This is one of the cases where I feel like the manufactures make it too easy to operate something.
People get too reliant of those "safety" features, and they stop paying attention because they have a myriad of sensors to let them know if they're wandering off to the next lane, or too close to the car in front, or whatever. Driving should require your full attention, and yet people rather have the car think and sometimes even decide for them. :dunno:
 

Sevs753

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I'm amazed they don't do the same thing as Lincoln does with our putton based shifter - if the door is opened with the vehicle still in park, the car auto shifts to P, unless the driver's seatbelt is buckled.
Apparently, they do now. Jalopnik (sorry) is reporting that they will be releasing a software update that automatically shifts the car into park when the door is opened while the vehicle is not moving.
 

sonza68

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This was a very poorly designed shifter mechanism. If, for instance, an auto maker switched the position of the accelerator pedal and brake pedal it would most certainly cause damage/death given enough people, despite a lack of a discrete mechanical problem. While this shifter isn't quite at this level of inexplicable dumbassery, you can't just make something that operates nearly but not quite similar to something they've used most of their life and expect them not to make mistakes purely out of habit/muscle memory.
Based my experience, it operates effectively the same as a normal shifter, except that it springs back to the central position when you release it. You push the button and push forward 3 detents, just like every console shift auto I've ever driven. Even if the detents aren't very clear (not all my cars have had distinct detents either), you just push the button and the move the shifter full forward. Instead of looking at the indicator next to the lever, you look at the top of the lever where the selected gear is lit up. If that isn't enough, the gear selection is also shown on the instrument panel. Seems pretty simple to me.
 

93Flareside

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This problem I bet is coming from people who can't understand why their iPhone says "iCloud storage almost full" because they haven't offloaded their photos onto something else(or stopped photos to backup to the iCloud). So now they have 500+ photos and movies backing up to iCloud's measly 5GB of free storage.
 

JCE

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God this is ridiculous. So many dumb people. It isn't rocket science, you simply verify you're in park AND OR apply the damn parking break. I suspect the people having an issue probably should retake a driving course because one of the first things you learn is to verify the vehicle is in park before exiting.

THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THE SHIFTER!

On another note when we took our Renegade in for an oil change at our dealer they updated some software and now the electronic break automatically applies when you put it in park. What a fucking crock of shit.
 

93Flareside

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Ooooh, my local dealer updated the fucking software on my 2011 Patriot when it worked better before the update. If you did a full throttle accelleration for any length of time over a time to increase 20mph, it would throw the CVT to just before readline and once you release it would fly back down to normal cruising speed. Once the update was applied, it would hang out around 4.5k RPM for a few seconds and then roll back to regular cruising speed. Throttle response was also more delayed. I don't understand the logic behind it. It was in for a recall on the gas filler tube. Apparently it could leak....
 

rickhamilton620

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Ooooh, my local dealer updated the fucking software on my 2011 Patriot when it worked better before the update. If you did a full throttle accelleration for any length of time over a time to increase 20mph, it would throw the CVT to just before readline and once you release it would fly back down to normal cruising speed. Once the update was applied, it would hang out around 4.5k RPM for a few seconds and then roll back to regular cruising speed. Throttle response was also more delayed. I don't understand the logic behind it. It was in for a recall on the gas filler tube. Apparently it could leak....
Probably because of the whole "cvt's gotta fake shifts now to avoid consumer/critic complaints" trend.

If you're gonna faux shift a CVT....there goes one benefit out the window.
 

93Flareside

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Well, it doesn't fake shift until you use the AutoStick. That's great for engine breaking on the highway. Otherwise. It's still a regular CVT. Just more delayed.
 
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