NHTSA has received five reports of crashes or fires related to the alleged defect and three injuries.
An estimated 408,000 Jeep Grand Cherokees are the subject of a preliminary NHTSA investigation after drivers complained that newer models rolled away after being put in park.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it is opening the investigation of 2014-15 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs after receiving 14 complaints alleging that the vehicles have rolled away after being placed in the park position.
Gear selection on the models under investigation is made by pressing the shifter paddle on the electronic gear selector forward or backward, and the shifter does not move along a gate path as in conventional gear selectors, NHTSA said.
The preliminary investigation has been opened to assess the scope, frequency and safety-related consequence of the alleged defect.
So far, NHTSA has received five reports of crashes or fires related to the alleged defect and three injuries. The severity of the injuries is not clear.
A Fiat Chrysler Automobiles spokesman said the automaker was cooperating fully with the NHTSA investigation.
In June, a driver in suburban Detroit said their 2015 Grand Cherokee was in park with the engine running when it started rolling backwards at a gas station. Three occupants evacuated the vehicle before it collided with another parked vehicle, the driver wrote in a complaint on NHTSA’s website.
A child was injured when evacuating the vehicle, the driver reported. The severity of the injury is not clear.
In April, a driver in Colorado pushed the shifter on their 2014 Grand Cherokee “clear forward till it stopped” to put the vehicle in park while the engine was still running and then exited the vehicle. The vehicle then rolled backward and struck the driver’s home, the drive wrote in a complaint on the NHTSA website.
The driver sustained a minor leg injury while attempting to stop the vehicle from rolling backward, the filing said.