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Sunday, May 12, 2013 - Page updated at 03:00 p.m.

Chrysler recalls nearly 500,000 Jeeps worldwide

By CHRISTOPHER JENSEN
The New York Times

Chrysler is recalling about 469,000 Jeeps worldwide, including about 295,000 in the United States, because the transmission could shift by itself from park into neutral, according to a report posted on the website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The affected models are the Jeep Commanders for the 2006 to 2010 model years and Grand Cherokees from the 2005 to 2010 model years.

There have been 26 accidents and two injuries apparently related to the defect, a Chrysler spokesman, Eric Mayne, wrote in an email. Mayne said he was not aware of the severity of the injuries but they were not fatal.

Chrysler told the safety agency that a software problem could instruct the transmission to shift into neutral when the vehicle is being started.

The automaker learned of the issue almost 16 months ago, when the owner of a Grand Cherokee with the remote-start feature complained that the vehicle shifted into neutral.

Chrysler said that last December, it finished developing new software it hoped would correct the problem. In March, it completed testing the fix but it wasn’t until this month that the automaker concluded a recall was necessary.

Mayne said he could not explain why the recall did not occur until this month.

Chrysler described the recall as voluntary, but once a manufacturer is aware of a safety problem it must tell the safety agency of its plan for the recall within five business days or face a civil fine.

Also Saturday, the NHTSA said it was investigating complaints that problems with steering-gear boxes are causing a loss of control in some Ford trucks.

The probe covers about 340,000 F250 and F350 Super Duty Trucks from the 2008 model year.

The agency says it has gotten five complaints from owners that an internal failure of the steering-gear box made them unable to steer the trucks. No deaths or injuries have been reported. But one driver said a loss of control led to a crash. Investigators will check whether there is a defect in the steering box and decide if a recall is needed.

Material from The Associated Press is included in this report


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