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

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
investigation into fcas monostable shifter finds 266 crashes 68 injuries

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.

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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?

  • Denis Jeep have other cars?!?
  • Darren Mertz In 2000, after reading the glowing reviews from c/d in 1998, I decided that was the car for me (yep, it took me 2 years to make up my mind). I found a 1999 with 24k on the clock at a local Volvo dealership. I think the salesman was more impressed with it than I was. It was everything I had hoped for. Comfortable, stylish, roomy, refined, efficient, flexible, ... I can't think of more superlatives right now but there are likely more. I had that car until just last year at this time. A red light runner t-boned me and my partner who was in the passenger seat. The cops estimate the other driver hit us at about 50 mph - on a city street. My partner wasn't visibly injured (when the seat air bag went off it shoved him out of the way of the intruding car) but his hip was rather tweaked. My car, though, was gone. I cried like a baby when they towed it away. I ruminated for months trying to decide how to replace it. Luckily, we had my 1998 SAAB 9000 as a spare car to use. I decided early on that there would be no new car considered. I loathe touch screens. I'm also not a fan of climate control. Months went by. I decided to keep looking for another B5 Passat. As the author wrote, the B5.5 just looked 'over done'. October this past year I found my Cinderella slipper - an early 2001. Same silver color. Same black leather interior. Same 1.8T engine. Same 5 speed manual transmission. I was happier than a pig in sh!t. But a little sad also. I had replaced my baby. But life goes on. I drive it every day to work which takes me over some rather twisty freeway ramps. I love the light snarel as I charge up some steep hills on my way home. So, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Passat guy.
  • Paul Mezhir As awful as the styling was on these cars, they were beautifully assembled and extremely well finished for the day. The doors closed solidly, the ride was extremely quiet and the absence of squeaks and rattles was commendable. As for styling? Everything's beautiful in it's own way.....except for the VI's proportions were just odd: the passenger compartment and wheelbase seemed to be way too short, especially compared to the VI sedan. Even the short-lived Town Coupe had much better proportions. None of the fox-body Lincolns could compare to the beautiful proportions of the Mark was the epitome of long, low, sleek and elegant. The proportions were just about perfect from every angle.
  • ToolGuy Silhouetting yourself on a ridge like that is an excellent way to get yourself shot ( Skylining)."Don't you know there's a special military operation on?"
  • ToolGuy When Farley says “like the Millennium Falcon” he means "fully updatable" and "constantly improving" -- it's right there in the Car and Driver article (and makes perfect sense).