Fiat Chrysler Shifter Investigated In Actor’s Death Now Linked To 266 Crashes, 68 Injuries

It turns out that the problems with Fiat Chrysler’s unusual and problematic automatic gear shifter are bigger than originally reported. The mushroom-shaped gear shifter on the Jeep Grand Cherokee and other cars—a part being investigated in the death of Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin—is now linked to 266 crashes and 68 injuries.…

That report comes from the AP, citing documents posted Tuesday on the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website. Originally the shifter had implicated in 121 crashes and 41 injuries where owners accidentally left the vehicles in gear instead of park, despite warning chimes indicating it was not so.


From the story:

Investigators also found 686 consumer complaints about the shifters and said that Fiat Chrysler received negative customer feedback shortly after the vehicles went on sale. The company also appeared to violate basic design guidelines for vehicle controls with the shifters, according to the agency.

The ZF eight-speed automatic shifter could be found on the 2014 and 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, as well as the 2012 through 2014 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300. It was the subject of a recall of more than 1.1 million vehicles recently accelerated in the wake of Yelchin’s death.


Unlike conventional gear shifters, this one does not move fully between park, reverse, neutral and drive, but rather selects a gear and then returns to center—often leaving owners confused as to what gear the car was actually in.

Last week the 27-year-old actor was found dead at his Los Angeles home, crushed by his own 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Police are investigating whether the death was because the car rolled into him in his driveway.

The shifter has since been replaced on newer Grand Cherokee models.


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