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Saturday 24 September 2016
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FCA Accelerates Gearshift Repairs after Actor’s Death

FCA Accelerates Gearshift Repairs after Actor’s Death

Fiat Chrysler is moving up gearshift repairs on 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee less than a week after the death of Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin.

Police say the 27-year-old was crushed to death last Sunday when his recalled 2015 Grand Cherokee rolled backwards down his driveway and pinned him to a security gate.

Yelchin’s Grand Cherokee is one of 1.1. FCA million vehicles recalled in April due to rollaway risk. The recall also includes 2012-2014 Dodge Chargers and Chrysler 300s. The problem is that driver’s mistakenly think the vehicle is in “Park” due to what’s essentially a shifter design flaw that confuses drivers. The issue is linked to hundreds of accidents and dozens of injuries.

While Yelchin’s death is still under investigation, the New York Times reports the FCA has accelerated plans to upgrade software in some of the recalled vehicles. (The automaker is not directly attributing accelerated plans to the actor’s death despite the timing.)

New software is being sent to dealers so they can install an “Auto Park” feature in certain 2014-2014 Grand Cherokees. It’s designed to prevent vehicles from moving when the driver’s door is open, and the shifter is not in park.  You can see FCA’s memo to dealers here.

Previously, FCA indicated a shifter fix would be available in July or August (which is still the case for other models.)

The software upgrade is available for 2014-15 Grand Cherokees with the 3.6-liter V-6 engine, as well as the 5.7-liter V-8. However, it doesn’t cover models with the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel or SRTs with the 6.4-liter V-8. Those models will be upgraded later this summer.

Owners of the recalled SUVs will be notified starting this week.

Photo Copyright: taniavolobueva/ Shutterstock