Fiat Chrysler Recalls 4.8 Million Cars Over Cruise-Control Flaw

Ivan Schwartz
May 26, 2018

Fiat Chrysler announced a recall for 4.8 million of its vehicles Friday over an issue that causes them to get stuck in cruise control.

Fiat Chrysler noted that at times cruise control systems automatically initiate acceleration to help vehicles maintain driver-selected speeds, including when going up an incline.

The models include the popular Ram pickup trucks of all sizes, the Jeep Cherokee and the Chrysler Pacifica minivan. Shifting into park would cancel the cruise control.

The owner, who was not identified in the agency's complaint database, wrote that the cruise control would not disengage by tapping the brakes or turning off the button. Some markets outside the United States, including Canada and Mexico, are also affected, but the total number of vehicles involved globally is not known.

The Italian-American automaker advised customers driving select Ram pickups, Jeep SUVs and Chrysler and Dodge brand models to avoid using cruise control until the software in their vehicles is upgraded.

Fiat Chrysler said it uncovered the issue through tests its engineers had conducted.

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In the U.S., 4.8 million USA vehicles will be recalled and there are additional vehicles affected in Canada.

While the recall is significant because of the sheer number of vehicles - the number of cars, SUVs and trucks involved exceed Fiat Chrysler's total US sales during the last two years - the costs may be less severe because the repair involves a software fix.

Fiat Chrysler has vowed to improve safety procedures after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2015 imposed $175 million in civil penalties for safety lapses.

The Italian-American auto maker said no injuries or crashes were related to the large recall campaign. Recall repairs are expected to be free, with customers getting alerts potentially by next week.

In 2015, Fiat Chrysler booked a 602 million-euro ($705 million) after-tax charge, mainly for estimated future recall costs.

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