US reg­u­la­tors ex­pand Fiat Chrysler gearshift probe

The Pak Banker - - BUSINESS -

NE WYORK: The U.S. Na­tional High­way Traf­fic Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion said Mon­day it is ex­pand­ing a de­fect in­ves­ti­ga­tion of 856,000 Fiat Chrysler SUVs and cars be­cause the ve­hi­cles may roll away af­ter driv­ers exit, think­ing they have put the trans­mis­sion in Park. The govern­ment's in­ves­ti­ga­tion cov­ers the 2014-15 Jeep Grand Chero­kee SUV, 2012-14 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300. The ve­hi­cles un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion have "E-shift" gear-shifts that op­er­ate elec­tron­i­cally. NHTSA says it has re­ports of 314 com­plaints, in­clud­ing 121 crashes and 30 in­juries af­ter ve­hi­cles rolled away, some strik­ing build­ings, driv­ers or other cars. In­jury re­ports in­clude three com­plaints of a frac­tured pelvis and four oth­ers re­quir­ing some other de­gree of hos­pi­tal­iza­tion. No deaths have been re­ported. Fiat Chrysler spokesman Eric Mayne said the au­tomaker is co­op­er­at­ing fully with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The agency opened an in­ves­ti­ga­tion in Au­gust of 408,000 Jeep Grand Chero­kee SUVs and up­graded it to an en­gi­neer­ing anal­y­sis, adding the Dodge and Chrysler cars to its probe. The upgrade is a step be­fore the agency can de­mand a re­call. Fed­eral auto safety reg­u­la­tors said test­ing of the ve­hi­cles' elec­tronic gear shifter found it "not in­tu­itive and pro­vides poor tac­tile and vis­ual feed­back to the driver, in­creas­ing the po­ten­tial for un­in­tended gear se­lec­tion." NHTSA said the ve­hi­cles at­tempt to warn driv­ers who exit with­out putting the gear-shift in Park. If the driver's door is opened when the gear-shift is not in Park, a chime sounds and a mes­sage is dis­played to warn the driver. Many of the crashes oc­curred soon af­ter the ve­hi­cles were pur­chased.

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