Fiat Chrysler recalls 5.3 million vehicles for cruise control defect

WASHINGTON: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is recalling more than 5.3 million vehicles in North America over a defect that could prevent drivers from deactivating cruise control, the company said on Friday, warning owners not to use the function until they get software upgrades.
The Italian-American automaker said no injuries or crashes are related to the large recall campaign but said it had one report of a US driver of a 2017 Dodge Journey rental car being unable to deactivate the cruise control.
Fiat Chrysler, which in 2015 was hit with penalties from United States regulators totalling $175 million for safety lapses, did not say how much the recalls would cost.
The recall addresses what Fiat Chrysler called an “extremely rare” series of events that could lead to drivers being unable to cancel cruise control, an electronic device that allows a vehicle to maintain a constant speed without driver intervention.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said on Friday it “strongly encourages vehicle owners to follow a warning” to stop using cruise control on the recalled vehicles until repaired.
The recall covers more than 4.8 million vehicles in the United States and 490,000 in Canada, regulators said.
NHTSA said drivers could overpower the system by forcefully applying the brakes until the vehicle stopped. Fiat Chrysler also said the vehicle could be stopped by shifting into neutral and braking.
Fiat Chrysler shares were down 2 per cent in afternoon trading in New York on the recall.
Fiat Chrysler said that at times cruise control systems automatically initiate acceleration to help vehicles maintain driver-selected speeds, including when going uphill. If an acceleration occurs simultaneously with a short-circuit in a specific electrical network, a driver could be unable to deactivate the function.
Fiat Chrysler said vehicles may be placed in park mode once stopped, at which point cruise-control is cancelled.
The recall involves a group of gasoline-powered vehicles with automatic transmissions from various model years built from 2014 through the 2019 model year. Most of the vehicles being recalled cover the 2014-2018 model years. — Reuters