In February 2015, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced the recall of over 25,000 vehicles worldwide for a transmission problem that can make drivers think their vehicle is in park when in fact it can roll freely. The so-called “False Park” problem has historically been the source of numerous injuries and lawsuits relating to other vehicles, including other Chrysler vehicles.
The “false park” or “park to reverse” defect is a flaw in a vehicle’s transmission that makes it possible for the driver unknowingly to place the transmission shift selector into a position between park and reverse during normal vehicle operations. When a vehicle is in false park, it appears to the driver that the vehicle is fully in park. However, the transmission is neither in park nor in hydraulic reverse. Instead, it is in an unstable position between the two gears. Slight movements can cause the vehicle to self-shift into reverse. When the vehicle is running, this will cause the vehicle to move backwards unexpectedly under power. If the driver exit the vehicle with the engine running (to retrieve an item, lock a house door, etc.), a vehicle in false park can shift into powered reverse, running over the driver or a bystander.
Vehicles Affected by the 2015 Fiat Chrysler Transmission Defect
With respect to this newest transmission defect recall by Chrysler, the automaker said that certain Chrysler 200 vehicles from the 2015 model year with V6 engines were affected. Chrysler further noted that customers with these models should activate the vehicle’s parking brake before turning off the engine, because the shifter can wrongly indicate that the car is in park and the vehicle could move to cause injuries.
The recall includes more than 22,000 cars in the United States. Fiat Chrysler said inconsistent assembly procedures at the supplier’s plant had been linked to five reports involving customers who could not shift their vehicles into park. The company said it was not aware of any injuries or deaths related to the problem.
If you or a family member have been injured in a false park accident, please contact a transmission defect injury attorney at Lieff Cabraser for a free, no-obligation review of your false park injury case.