Fiat Chrysler is in hot water again over vehicle complaints, this time over late-model Jeep Grand Cherokees rolling away after being placed in park. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is now opening a preliminary investigation into some 408,000 Grand Cherokees, thanks to 14 complaints, including five reports of crashes and three reports of injuries.
The problem reportedly stems from the Jeep’s electronic shifter, similar to the ones found of many other FCA vehicles with the ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, including the 2015 Dodge Charger and 2015 Dodge Challenger. Each complaint states the driver placed the shifter in park before exiting the Jeep, only to find the vehicle rolling away. FCA has yet to find any evidence as to why the vehicles in question did not properly enter park.
The injures associated with the roll-away incidents include one child and two adults, all in separate cases, the most severe of which involved the driver’s pelvis being run over by the front tire after he was pushed down by the open driver’s door. Other incidents include Grand Cherokees rolling into a light pole, parked cars and ditches. Thankfully, no deaths have been reported.
The Jeep Grand Cherokees in question are 2014 and 2015 models. FCA spokesman Eric Mayne says the automaker is cooperating in the investigation. Cooperation at this point is likely assured thanks to record-breaking fines upwards of $105 million from the NHTSA for the slow pace at which the automaker addressed previous safety recalls.
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According to some rumors, Jeep is planning its big re-entrance in the pickups segment, with the new model being based on the Gladiator Concept revealed in 2005.
The Gladiator Concept was based on the Wrangler model and was fitted with an innovative mid-gate which helped the driver transport longer weights. The mid-gate concept is not new and it’s borrowed from the Chevrolet Avalanche pickup.
The latest pickup developed by the company (the Comanche) was sold until 1992 and despite the fact that it was a fairly good product it never managed to attract a large number of buyers.
The Jeep Comanche was based on the Cherokee model and was sold between 1985 and 1992. The pickup truck was legendary for its sharp off road skills and for its bullet proof reliability.
The Comanche was available with both two wheel drive and four wheel drive configurations and came with two bed lengths measuring six-feet and seven-feet. At its time, the Comanche was the cheapest Jeep in the company’s lineup.
The vehicle was launched with a choice of three engines including the AMC 150 2.5 L, 150 CID I4, General Motors’s LR2 2.8 L V6 and the Renault 2.1 L I4 turbo diesel.