Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has been hit with a class-action lawsuit accusing the company of hiding a shifter design defect in the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The lawsuit alleges the company tried to cover up hundreds of accidents caused by the unintuitive shifter and hasn't properly addressed the problem. The lawsuit goes on to claim "the stigma attached" to the Grand Cherokee means they are "worth significantly less than they otherwise would be." As a result, the plaintiffs are seeking restitution for a potentially lower resale value.
The shifter has been blamed for nearly 700 incidents including 212 crashes and 41 injuries. Fiat Chrysler says most of the accidents have happened because drivers mistakenly thought their vehicle was in park when it actually wasn't.
While it sound like a case of simple human error, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said the shifter is "not intuitive and provides poor tactile and visual feedback to the driver, increasing the potential for unintended gear selection."
FCA issued a recall to address the problem back in April but the recent death of Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin - who was pinned between his Jeep Grand Cherokee and a brick wall - has push the automaker to release a new software update that will be available later this month.