Investigation Into FCA's Monostable Shifter Finds 266 Crashes, 68 Injuries

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Like the rapidly accumulating clouds of an approaching thunderstorm, the number of crashes and injuries related to the misuse of Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s Monostable shifter are beginning to mushroom.

An investigation into the shifter, like the one in the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee which crushed and killed Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin, found 266 crashes that injured 68 people. Originally, the shifter was fingered in 121 crashes and 41 injuries.

Citing documents posted yesterday on the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website, the AP says investigators also found 686 consumer complaints about the shifters and said that FCA received negative customer feedback shortly after the vehicles went on sale. The agency closed its investigation last Friday after FCA agreed to speed up the global recall of 1.1 million vehicles.

According to reports, FCA has begun providing dealers with a software update for the affected vehicles, two months earlier than previously expected. FCA has also been exhorting customers to set parking brakes before exiting their vehicles and to follow instructions on information cards mailed out by the company.

Jack recently called for standardized operation of certain safety-related controls, and he may have a point. I have been using my recalled 2012 Charger as a daily driver for four years and still occasionally land in Neutral and not Reverse when attempting to execute a three-point turn. However, descriptions by other outlets of having to “push the lever forward three times” in order to engage Park from Drive are patently false; a good and firm push forward on the lever through three tactile detents will put the thing squarely in Park. To confirm, I just went out in my driveway and tried it.

The recall covers the 2014 and 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee along with the 2012–2014 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300. The Monostable shifter has since been replaced with a more traditional lever in newer versions of these vehicles.

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • WV Cycling WV Cycling on Jun 29, 2016

    "266 Crashes, 68 Injuries" I know the whole Bell Shape Curve of human intelligence and common sense, but this truly makes me lose hope in humanity.

    • RHD RHD on Jun 29, 2016

      “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” ― George Carlin Unfortunately, there are too many drivers who are not "reasonable persons". A pretty good percentage of the 266 crashes and 68 injuries are likely caused by those too lazy to figure out how the shift lever works or set the parking brake.

  • Jerome10 Jerome10 on Jun 29, 2016

    I have zero experience with this FCA shift lever. However, when I look at the operation, this seems nearly identical to the 2012 5 series I have often driven. There is the lock button on the side, push up for reverse, pull down for drive. Park is a button on the top of the shifter. The gear selection seems nearly identical to me, with the primary difference in the park select. The BMW returns to center with every selection as well. Is there something different about the BMW? Or are they having issues as well? Or the fact there is a dedicated PARK button makes all the difference over this FCA setup?

  • JK I grew up with Dodge trucks in the US, and now live in Turin, Italy, the home of Fiat. I don't think Italians view this as an Italian company either. There are constant news articles and protests about how stalantis is moving operations out of Italy. Jeep is strangely popular here though. I think last time I looked at stelantis's numbers, Jeep was the only thing saving them from big big problems.
  • Bd2 Oh yeah, funny how Trumpers (much less the Orange Con, himself) are perfectly willing to throw away the Constitution...
  • Bd2 Geeze, Anal sure likes to spread his drivelA huge problem was Fisher and his wife - who overspent when they were flush with cash and repeatedly did things ad hoc and didn't listen to their employees (who had more experience when it came to auto manufacturing, engineering, etc).
  • Tassos My Colleague Mike B bought one of these (the 300 SEL, same champagne color) new around June 1990. I thought he paid $50k originally but recently he told me it was $62k. At that time my Accord 1990 Coupe LX cost new, all included, $15k. So today the same car means $150k for the S class and $35k-40k for the Accord. So those %0 or 62k , these were NOT worthless, Idiot Joe Biden devalued dollars, so he paid AN ARM AND A LEG. And he babied the car, he really loved it, despite its very weak I6 engine with a mere 177 HP and 188 LBFT, and kept it forever. By the time he asked me to drive it (to take him to the dealer because his worthless POS Buick Rainier "SUV" needed expensive repairs (yes, it was a cheap Buick but he had to shell out thousands), the car needed a lot of suspension work, it drove like an awful clunker. He ended up donating it after 30 years or so. THIS POS is no different, and much older. Its CHEAPSKATE owner should ALSO donate it to charity instead of trying to make a few measly bucks off its CARCASS. Pathetic!
  • RHD The re-paint looks like it was done with a four-inch paintbrush. As far as VWs go, it's a rebadged Seat... which is still kind of a VW, made in Mexico from a Complete Knock-Down kit. 28 years in Mexico being driven like a flogged mule while wearing that ridiculous rear spoiler is a tough life, but it has actually survived... It's unique (to us), weird, funky (very funky), and certainly not worth over five grand plus the headaches of trying to get it across the border and registered at the local DMV.