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Jeep owners file suit over rollaway recall

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT
Just four days after actor Anton Yelchin’s 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled back down his steep driveway and killed him, a group of Grand Cherokee owners filed a class-action lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler in a California federal court, according to the Wall Street Journal. Yelchin’s Jeep was part of a recent Fiat Chrysler safety recall.

The suit claims that Fiat Chrysler didn’t do enough to warn owners of the potential rollaway danger posed by the electronic transmission that was the subject of the recent recall. The electronic shifter on the affected vehicles returns to a neutral position when a gear or “park” is selected. As a result, it’s easy to be confused about the actual transmission selection, which is allegedly involved with hundreds of complaints to regulators, 41 injuries, and now possibly one death.

The lawsuit alleges that the shifter, used in 2012-2014 Dodge Chargers and Chrysler sedans and 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees, doesn’t have a safety override that other manufacturers use with similar transmissions. Other car companies automatically put the transmission into park when a car door is opened, according to the suit. The lawsuit “seeks restitution for owners and a court order requiring Fiat Chrysler to notify customers not to drive the affected cars and SUVs until the shifters can be repaired.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Fiat Chrysler said dealers are getting a software upgrade fix that will put the transmission into park when the driver exits the car. Owners should begin receiving letters from Fiat Chrysler next week to make appointments to have the software updated. Just last week Fiat Chrysler’s Maserati brand recalled 13,000 vehicles that have similar issues.

Jeep brand chief Mike Manley said the company is sending a team of engineers to inspect Anton Yelchin’s Grand Cherokee.

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