Summer is a time for long drives, whether traveling to favorite vacation destinations or the need to get away from it all, if only for a short time. However, when the vehicle of choice is plagued with problems, a getaway can go horribly wrong. Without warning, an operator can lose control and find themselves seriously injured in accidents not caused by another driver, but by the vehicle manufacturer.
For Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, what the manufacturer hyped as cutting-edge has evolved into the potential for catastrophe.
FCA announced the ZF automatic transmission with nine speeds in their 2014 line of Jeep Cherokee vehicles. The paint was barely dry when problems began to surface. Jeep enthusiasts had their chance to purchase the latest and so-called greatest, only to discover a variety of quality and safety problems.
Fast forward six years. Since the launch, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been documenting a variety of transmission problems reported by customers. Issues include rough shifts and stalling that has required warranty work and 11 software updates.
However, the most significant safety concern and technical upgrade surround the troubled Jeep Cherokee. V-6 models have a clutch that may stick and shift the transmission into neutral. The dangerous defect has led to its latest recall of 81,000 models with 3.2-liter V-6 engines
The news follows a 2016 recall affected nearly 330,000 vehicles that included four models using the transmission for the same problem. In total, three out of every 100 cars have required a return to dealerships for repairs.
FCA’s image continues its status as tarnished. However, that pales in comparison to the dangers their loyal drivers faced because of their vehicle defects.