Feds Probe FCA SUVs Over Electronic Shifting Issues

Federal regulators will look into hundreds of thousands of additional Fiat Chrysler SUVs at risk of inadvertently rolling away after drivers exit their vehicles.

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Federal regulators will look into hundreds of thousands of additional Fiat Chrysler SUVs at risk of inadvertently rolling away after drivers exit their vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration first began looking into 408,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs in August, and on Monday announced an engineering analysis of the 2014 and 2015 Grand Cherokee, along with the model years 2012 through 2014 Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger.

Those cars — 856,000 in all — are equipped with "E-shift" systems that electronically shift between gears but led to hundreds of drivers mistakenly exiting their vehicles without putting them into park.

Initial tests found that although the SUVs chime and display a warning light when its doors open while in gear, the system is "not intuitive and provides poor tactile and visual feedback to the driver."

The engineering analysis is one step prior to a recall.

The agency said it received 314 complaints and reports of 121 crashes blamed on the E-shift system. Thirty people were injured in those accidents, with seven requiring hospitalization. No deaths were attributed to the problem.

FCA officials said that the company is cooperating with the investigation.

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