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Discussion Starter #1
Funny thing is when I test-drove a 2014 BMW X5 (or was it X3?) I had to ask the salesman to explain the shift lever to me, twice. It was completely non-intuitive. BMW & Mercedes are mentioned near the end of the article as having a similar shifter.

http://bigstory.ap.org/urn[IMG]http://www.clubtouareg.com/forums/images/smilies/icon_razz.gif[/IMG]ublicid:ap.org:2f228a3abf2e44ea8ef1388448d09329

DETROIT (AP) Electronic gear shifters on some newer Fiat Chrysler SUVs and cars are so confusing that drivers have exited the vehicles with the engines running and while they are still in gear, causing crashes and serious injuries, U.S. safety investigators have determined.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in documents posted during the weekend, has doubled the number of vehicles involved in an investigation of the problem, but it stopped short of seeking a recall. The agency found more than 100 crashes and over a dozen injuries, mostly in Jeep Grand Cherokees.

Agency tests found that operating the center console shift lever "is not intuitive and provides poor tactile and visual feedback to the driver, increasing the potential for unintended gear selection," investigators wrote in the documents. They upgraded the probe to an engineering analysis, which is a step closer to a recall. NHTSA will continue to gather information and seek a recall if necessary, a spokesman said.

The investigation could determine just how much automakers can change the way cars operate when they introduce new technology, and how far they can stray from conventional ways of controlling vehicles that drivers are accustomed to.

Jake Fisher, director of auto testing for Consumer Reports, expects more problems and investigations as automakers continue to roll out new electronic controls that are unfamiliar to drivers. "I think the manufacturers need to be much more responsible as they try these new technologies," he said.

The government's probe now covers more than 856,000 vehicles including the popular Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV from the 2014 and 2015 model years and the 2012 through 2014 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans with 3.6-liter V6 engines.

In the vehicles, drivers pull the shift lever forward or backward to select gears and the shifter doesn't move along a track like in most cars. A light shows which gear is selected, but to get from Drive to Park, drivers must push the lever forward three times. The gearshift does not have notches that match up with the gear you want to shift into, and it moves back to a centered position after the driver picks a gear.

The vehicles sound a chime and issue a dashboard warning if the driver's door is opened while they are not in Park. But investigators found that the push-button start-stop feature doesn't shut off the engine if the vehicles aren't in Park, increasing the risk of the vehicles rolling away after drivers have exited.

"This function does not protect drivers who intentionally leave the engine running or drivers who do not recognize that the engine continues to run after an attempted shut-off," investigators wrote.

Thus far, the investigation has found 314 complaints, 121 crashes and 30 injuries from the problem. Three drivers reported fractured pelvic bones, while four others needed to be hospitalized with a ruptured bladder, fractured kneecap, or severe leg trauma.

Fiat Chrysler says it is cooperating in the probe. The company changed the shifters in the 2016 Grand Cherokee and 2015 Charger and 300 sedans so they function more like people are used to. But FCA said it did so to increase customer satisfaction and not for safety concerns.

One driver, in Atkinson, New Hampshire, complained that in November of last year, her 2014 Grand Cherokee began traveling in reverse with no driver inside. The SUV crossed a street, crashed into a mailbox and rolled up a driveway. The driver wrote that she tried to get back into the Jeep but was knocked to the ground and it rolled over her legs and injured her. The Jeep eventually stopped after hitting a fence. Drivers are not identified in the NHTSA complaint database.

"The shift knob is a real problem," wrote another driver from Enumclaw, Washington, who reported two unintentional roll-away incidents in a 2015 Grand Cherokee. "I am not a complainer, however this is a major safety issue. It terrifies me to drive this vehicle."

Fiat Chrysler is not alone with the tricky shifters. Fisher says BMW and Mercedes-Benz have similar gearshifts. He said the government has a thin line to walk between stifling innovation and keeping people safe.

"I think the best thing for consumers isn't that legislation comes," he said. "The best thing is that automakers really do not start adding features that are really confusing to people and cause accidents."
 

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IQ confirmation

Inability to figure out gear shift operation confirms my suspicion that purchasers of Jeep SUV's suffer from IQ challenges.
 

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How about if you can't figure out the proper use of the gear shift in a vehicle, maybe you should either:
  • Get the dealer / friend / police safety expert / average person walking down the street to explain it to you
  • Buy a simpler vehicle
 

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To be honest, the whole idea of pushing the shifter forward 3 times to put it in park is not intuitive to me.

I am used to physical/visual feedback via the position of the shifter to know what gear the car is in. And I suspect many other people are, too. :- /
 

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Shades of Boeing v Airbus regarding automation and flight controls.
 

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Interesting point. Soon we MIGHT have to be "certified" to drive a GM vs. Ford or VAG car.

At least they don't switch the foot pedals around when you go overseas.

They don't do do that, right? :- p
 

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Jeeez! I can remember discussing with my high school buddies the advantages and disadvantages of a stick shift on the floor (where it threatened your activity if you had a date) or 'three on the steering column'.
 

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I drove a Prius a few miles once (long story) that had something similar. I found the gear selector offensive to everything masculine and automotive. Additionally, it was the most annoying and confusing selector I have ever seen / used in my life. I wanted to break it off the dash.
 

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I drove a Prius a few miles once (long story) that had something similar. I found the gear selector offensive to everything masculine and automotive. Additionally, it was the most annoying and confusing selector I have ever seen / used in my life. I wanted to break it off the dash.
Ha ha!! That's why I think it was a smart move for Ford to leave the traditional gear shift in their Escape Hybrid model. It was the same shifter, but it only had a cable to engage the parking pawl. It was a CVT (continuously Variable Transmission) so had no real "gears" as a traditional transmission. But it was familiar and easy to use. People would always ask me how to drive the thing, and I would tell them to just get in and "Go!". Easy peasy.

That said, I do like the "new-fangled" keyless start in my Touareg. I just found out today that I can turn off the ignition (when it's in accessory more, on, but engine not running) by pressing LIGHTLY on the button. I'm sure it's somewhere in the owner's manual, but who has time for that? LOL!
 

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I briefly had a new '15 Dodge 1500. The gear selector is a stupid knob on the dash near the HVAC controls (which also use knobs) So half the time I would end up end up putting the transmission in neutral when I was trying to turn on the AC because you would grab the wrong knob...

I hated that truck with a passion.. Worst purchasing experience I have had since I bought a prius
 

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When we were shopping for a new SUV three years ago, we test drove the Mercedes GLK and ML. We both did not like the shifter "mechanism" as it was just not intuitive, and that alone eliminated them from further consideration.
 

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Just traded the '06 Touareg for a BMW X3 for the wife. The gear selector is the one thing I don't like.

Park = push and hold a button on the top of the stick for a second
Reverse = push and hold a button on the side of the stick and push the stick FORWARD
Forward = push and hold a button on the side of the stick and push the stick BACKWARDS
Neutral = tap the stick in any direction with out pressing any button or knock it with your elbow or your wife's purse...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
This issue made the CBS Evening News today. The report is focused on the JGC.
 

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Just traded the '06 Touareg for a BMW X3 for the wife. The gear selector is the one thing I don't like.

Park = push and hold a button on the top of the stick for a second
Reverse = push and hold a button on the side of the stick and push the stick FORWARD
Forward = push and hold a button on the side of the stick and push the stick BACKWARDS
Neutral = tap the stick in any direction with out pressing any button or knock it with your elbow or your wife's purse...
What about Tiptronic?

On my Beemers years ago, you always tapped the gear lever back to change down and forward to go up the box.

Taking my car in for service they lent me a nice, shiny, new BMW without telling me they had reversed the process.

It bloody nearly went back wrecked after I slightly misjudged joining a roundabout at 20 mph or so and the approaching car already on the roundabout was going a tad faster than I had thought: I tapped back twice for a lower gear and some acceleration only to find I'd changed up and bogged the damned car!

It was the very reason I have never bought another Beemer.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Fiat Chrysler recalls 1.1 million cars, SUVs for rollaway issue | Reuters

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCHA.MI) said on Friday it is recalling more than 1.1 million cars and SUVs worldwide because the vehicles may roll away after drivers exit.

The automaker said the recall is linked to as many as 41 injuries because drivers mistakenly believed they had placed the vehicles in park before exiting.

The recall covers the 2012-2014 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans and 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicles. About 811,000 vehicles in the United States are affected, along with about 52,000 vehicles in Canada; nearly 17,000 in Mexico and almost 250,000 vehicles outside North America.

NHTSA said testing of the vehicles' electronic gear shifter found it "not intuitive and provides poor tactile and visual feedback to the driver, increasing the potential for unintended gear selection."

Gear-selection is conveyed to drivers by indicator lights, not gear-selector position, which may lead drivers to falsely assume vehicles are in park, the company said. Vehicles deliver warning chimes and messages if driver-side doors are opened while engines are still running and park is not engaged.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin ("Chekhov" in the reboot) was crushed and killed by his own car when it rolled down the driveway and pinned him to a wall.

Anton Yelchin dead: Jeep model recalled due to transmission issues | EW.com

Anton Yelchin's car model had been recalled due to transmission issues

Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin was driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee model that had recently been recalled due to a design flaw that made it possible for the vehicle to roll after being parked, PEOPLE confirms.

Yelchin’s body was found Sunday pinned between the car and the gate of his home in Studio City, California, after the 27-year-old’s vehicle rolled backward down the steep driveway, a Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson tells PEOPLE.

The spokesperson says the car was a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

A Fiat Chrysler Automobiles official tells PEOPLE that 2014 and 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees, manufactured between July 16, 2012 and Dec. 22, 2015, were recalled by the company in April after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigated a possible transmission defect.
 

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Such a sad story. Hopefully someone wakes up and realizes these bizarre, "creative" gear selectors are a bad idea.
Warning chimes and buzzers only do so much when you already expect these when opening the door of a running vehicle.
it is a good reminder to take the time and make sure you have selected park before getting out.
Even though it is a standard gear selector, I was delivering my trailer to storage late one evening. As I was the only person there, I was guiding the trailer in by myself. It took a lot of in / out checks (walking back the 32' to make sure I wasn't about to hit my neighbors), and on one occasion as I reached the back of the trailer I noticed the brake lights were on (brighter than the last few times I was back there). I was alarmed and immediately returned to the truck expecting to find someone in it (kind of a creepy part of town)!! However, upon walking back up the Treg I was horrified to see my reverse lights were on too! My drivers door still open with no one sitting in the truck... (no, it DOES NOT have this safety feature, so don't try it). Someone was looking out for me that night...

We ALL need to be careful, mistakes happen when you are exhausted, it is dark and you just want to be in bed.

I hope FCA and others return to some standard on this.
 

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Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin ("Chekhov" in the reboot) was crushed and killed by his own car when it rolled down the driveway and pinned him to a wall.
This is a sad tragic direct result of change for the sake of change.

We don't need to design stupid gearshift levers that lack both a visual and a tactile feedback of what gear you are in. The trend has been toward doing this. Google "Put a Pruis in neutral"

While I am ranting, we don't need to remove one stupid dial from our dash and replace it with [menu] [comfort] [interior settings] [seating] [drivers side] [heating/cooling] [heating] [level select 1,2,3,4,5]

We don't need to change the brake and gas pedal arrangements. We could make the car go faster when we press the wheel in and brakes could be pull the wheel back toward your chest. But why the frack would we do it?

This autoweek article has a good picture of the badly designed gear shift knob. Anton Yelchin, Star Trek actor, killed by Jeep Grand Cherokee

And this article has a good picture of the the accident scene. The car pinned Yelchin, 27, between a brick mailbox pillar and a metal security fence. Was Star Trek Actor Anton Yelchin's Death Linked to Jeep's Gear Shifter Recall Issues? - The Drive
 

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