Almost 50,000 Jeeps Recalled Due To Gear Design Flaw

Shift levers in particular models return to a centre position after selecting gears, with some drivers not being aware of the shift before exiting the vehicle.

23/06/2016 7:47 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:54 PM AEST
Almost 50,000 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2012-2014 Chrysler 300 vehicles have been recalled across Australia.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is recalling 47,451 vehicles across Australia to enhance a transmission system and transmission warnings that could mean cars could roll away if not properly left in the 'park' position.

The recall affects 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2012-2014 Chrysler 300 vehicles equipped with electronic shift levers that return to a centre position after drivers select gears and release hold of the gear stick.

A warning issued today by the government's product safety recalls body said: "If the engine is left running, the 'Park' position is not engaged and the 'Park Brake' is not applied prior to the driver exiting the vehicle, the vehicle may roll away striking and injuring the driver, passenger or bystanders."

"The electronic shift lever in the affected vehicles does not move like a conventional T-shifter . [It] is spring loaded and always returns to the same center position like a joystick after the desired gear is selected."

While there are precautionary safety warning chimes and alerts that sound if a driver attempts to turn off and exit the vehicle without being in the Park position, a software update will be applied to all recalled cars to enhance the warnings and transmission system, according to FCA in a statement provided to the Huffington Post Australia.

"The enhancements will combine warnings with a transmission-shift strategy to automatically prevent a vehicle from moving, under certain circumstances, even if the driver fails to select Park," FCA said.

The call comes after a nation-wide recall was issued in the United States following the death of Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin on Sunday.

Yelchin died after being crushed between his Jeep Grand Cherokee and a brick wall in his own driveway. The Jeep's engine was still running and the car was in neutral.

All affected customers will receive notification when service becomes available. However, as a further safety precaution FCA recommends that customers engage the parking brake whenever they leave the vehicle and refer to their owner's manual for outlines of correct operation of the vehicle.

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