Actor’s Death is Latest Example of Inadequate Recall Response; the Center Lays Out Action Plan for Chrysler to Prevent Further Deaths and Injuries due to Transmission Defect


The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.


June 20, 2016

Actor’s Death is Latest Example of Inadequate Recall Response; CAS Lays Out Action Plan for Chrysler to Prevent Further Deaths and Injuries due to Transmission Defect

Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin was killed June 18 when his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee pinned him against his mailbox in a rollaway incident.  Yelchin’s death is unfortunately the latest example of industry and government incompetence in the face of vehicle safety defects.

On April 22, 2016, Chrysler issued a recall of 2014-2015 Grand Cherokees, as well as 2012-14 Chrysler 300s and Dodge Chargers, in order to add an additional part to enhance the Jeeps’ monostable gear selector.  The design of the monostable gear selector has been the source of much confusion for Chrysler owners, resulting in hundreds of rollaway incidents reported to both Chrysler and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).   Chrysler notes in its chronology that as of April 12, 2016 “FCA US has identified approximately 700 field reports potentially related to this issue which includes 212 crashes, 308 claims of property damage and 41 injuries.”

The vehicles involved had been under investigation by NHTSA since August 20, 2015, when the agency opened PE15-030.  When NHTSA upgraded the investigation to EA16-002 on February 3, 2016, the agency noted 121 crashes and 30 injury incidents in its opening memo.

Despite a clear defect affecting hundreds of owners with injury and potential death, Chrysler issued a Part 577 interim notification letter to owners promising to develop a fix by the 4th quarter of 2016. Just how quickly this fix would be available to owners is unknown, and given Chrysler’s recent recall efforts in fire-prone Jeeps, owners would be potentially subject to lengthy delays when seeking a remedy.

In a letter to Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, CAS Executive Director wrote:
The Center for Auto Safety calls on Chrysler to:
· Notify owners not to drive these vehicles until repaired under the safety recall.
· Provide free loaner or rental cars of comparable value to all owners until the vehicles are repaired under the safety recall.
· For owners who cannot wait until a recall repair is available, buy the recalled vehicles back at original purchase or lease cost with no deduction for use as is done under state lemon laws where the defect exists on the day the vehicle was bought.
· Provide a detailed public timeline within 10 days of what is being done to make a recall remedy available, when parts will be available for all vehicles and who is doing the engineering for the recall.
· Sergio Marchionne should publicly go and apologize to the family of Anton Yelchin.

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CAS Letter to Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne

CAS Letter to NHTSA Administrator Rosekind

NHTSA Letter on Missing Investigation Documents

16V-240 Part 573

16V-240 Amended Part 573

16V-240 Amended Part 573 Chronology

16V-240 Part 577

16V-240 Third Amended Part 573 – 6/21/16

16V-240 Dealer Recall Communication Guide – 6/6/16

16V-240 Electronic Shifter Quick Tips – 5/4/16

16V-240 Advance Dealer Alert – 4/22/16

PE15-030 Closing Resume

Redacted Chrysler PowerPoint Presentation to NHTSA

EA16-002 Opening Resume

EA16-002 Closing Resume

Chrysler Consent Agreement with NHTSA on Recall Performance

CAS FOIA: Missing Chrysler PE15-030 Documents

CAS FOIA: Missing Chrysler EA16-002 Documents

List of Chrysler Transmission Rollaway Recalls

Chrysler ZF Gear Selector Class Action Complaint


‘Star Trek’ actor Anton Yelchin’s parents sue Fiat Chrysler after fatal accident – 8/2/16

Fiat Chrysler rollaway recall linked to 68 injuries, 266 crashes – 6/28/16

When the Car’s Gear Shifter Is Too Clever by Half – 6/23/16

FCA dealers get software to prevent rollaways of recalled Jeep Grand Cherokees – 6/23/16

FCA accused of concealing defect in Jeep Grand Cherokee – 6/23/16

‘Star Trek’ actor’s death prompts new calls for auto recall fix – 6/22/16

Anton Yelchin’s Death Highlights a Known Issue With Jeeps – 6/21/16

Good Morning America: ‘Star Trek’ Actor Anton Yelchin Killed in Tragic Car Accident – 6/20/16

Brand of Jeep that killed Star Trek actor in midst of recall – 6/20/16

Jeep That Crushed Anton Yelchin Had Been Recalled – 6/20/16

The Jeep model that killed ‘Star Trek’ actor Anton Yelchin was recently recalled for dangerous parking error – 6/20/16

Anton Yelchin Death: Jeep Grand Cherokees Were Recalled for Rollaway Risk – 6/19/16

Consumer Reports Videos on Confusing Gearshifts

Fiat Chrysler Recalls Confusing Shifters

Car Shifters Veer From Tradition, Create Confusion

Confusing car designs