NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee

The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) is an office within the NHTSA which investigates serious safety problems in the design, construction or performance of vehicles. The NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles, if the ODI finds a safety issue. NHTSA investigations for the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:

  1. INVESTIGATION: Software security vulnerability

    NHTSA Defect Investigation #RQ15004

    Component(s): Electrical System: Software

    Summary: On July 23, 2015, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) launched Safety Recall 15V-461 to remedy security vulnerabilities in approximately 1.4 million model year (MY) 2013 through 2015 vehicles equipped with Uconnect head units (HU) 8.4A (RA3 radio) and 8.4AN (RA4 radio) manufactured by Harman International.On July 24, 2015, the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened Recall Query, RQ 15-004, to investigate HU security vulnerabilities and remedy effectiveness in the recalled population and to determine whether similar units have been supplied for use in other FCA vehicles.In an August 11, 2015 letter, FCA submitted a second Part 573 safety recall report expanding the scope of the Uconnect RA4 model radio to include additional 7,810 MY 2015 Jeep Renegade vehicles manufactured from September 18, 2014 through June 25, 2015 (Recall 15V-508).Scope analysis indicated that Uconnect radios installed in FCA vehicles not included in recalls 15V-461 or 15V-508 (subject recalls) are not equipped with built-in cellular access or short range wireless communication features and, thus, do not contain the security vulnerabilities addressed by the subject recalls. SUBJECT VEHICLES: MY2014 through 2015 Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Cherokee sport utility vehicles; MY2013 through 2015 Ram 1500, 2500, 3500 and 4500/5500 pickup trucks; MY2013 through 2015 Dodge Viper vehicles; and MY2015 Chrysler 200, 300, Jeep Renegade, Dodge Charger and Challenger vehicles.According to FCA, long and short range wireless vulnerabilities identified in the recalled vehicles could allow unauthorized third-party access to, and manipulation of, networked vehicle control systems.Successful exploitation of the vulnerabilities, coupled with reverse engineering of networked microprocessor control modules, could result in unauthorized manipulation of vehicle control systems. This unauthorized manipulation of vehicle controls and systems could expose the driver, vehicle occupants or other highway users to an increased risk of injury.FCA and its network provider, Sprint, conducted a nationwide campaign to block access to a radio communications port that was unintentionally left open.On July 27, 2015, short range wireless vulnerabilities were also blocked.Finally, third party security evaluation and regression testing identified vulnerabilities that were either remedied by Sprint or through updates to the FCA Uconnect software.ODI identified a total of 30 complaints or field reports on unique vehicles submitted by FCA (29) or received by NHTSA (1) alleging incidents of theft from a vehicle or anomalous performance that the owner alleged were caused by, or may have been caused by, remote hacking.Twenty-six (87%) of these reports were submitted after a magazine article was published on July 21, 2015, describing the remote hacking of an FCA vehicle by researchers who were able to affect the operation of various vehicle control systems, including the service brakes, steering, throttle and ignition.Most of the complaints involved vehicle systems that were not safety critical (e.g., complaints related to radio, navigation system, or air-conditioning control) and did not affect vehicle control.Three complaints reported engine stalls.One owner reported sudden unintended acceleration allegedly related to hacking.None of the complaints or field reports reviewed involved the steering and braking vehicle control effects demonstrated by the research hackers prior to the recall.There were no confirmed incidents of hacking in any of the records reviewed by ODI.The remedies completed by Sprint and FCA appear to have eliminated vulnerabilities that might allow a remote actor to impact vehicle control systems.This recall query investigation is closed; this action does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist. (Continued on attachment A)

  2. INVESTIGATION: False Positive Automated Braking

    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE15021

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: June 01, 2015
    • Date Closed: September 28, 2016
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Forward Collision Avoidance
    Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
    Forward Collision Avoidance: Crash Imminent Braking
    Forward Collision Avoidance: Dynamic Brake Support/Brake Assist
    Forward Collision Avoidance: Sensing System

    Summary: On June 1, 2015, the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened Preliminary Evaluation PE15-021 to investigate 9 complaints alleging incidents of unintended braking in model year (MY) 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles, including 2 alleging incidents of full ABS braking.ODI expanded the scope to include MY 2015 Grand Cherokee vehicles and identified a total of 176 incidents in complaints provided by FCA or submitted to ODI by consumers.ODI conducted the following work to assess the alleged defect in the subject vehicles:1) evaluated the design of the subject Forward Collision Warning (FCW) system, including the maximum braking authority during automated braking; 2) analyzed the frequency and severity of field incidents of unintended braking; 3) analyzed warranty data for evidence of system faults that may be related to the alleged defect; and 4) reviewed the performance of the subject system in testing conducted as part of NHTSA-s 2014 Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) test program.ODI-s analysis found that the maximum brake activations that can be commanded by the subject system are limited in both braking force and duration.The system is not capable of achieving full ABS braking, as alleged in some complaints, unless driver brake application triggers the Advanced Brake Assist (ABA) mode.Analysis of field data found that unintended braking events occur randomly for a variety of causes and are not driven by any single environmental factor, traffic condition, or vehicle fault.The incidents involve short duration moderate braking events with minimal changes in vehicle speed.None of the incidents resulted in crash or injuries.The subject vehicles performed as well or better than peer vehicles in testing conducted as part of NHTSA-s AEB test program.This preliminary evaluation is closed. The closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding that a safety related defect does not exist. For additional information, see the closing resume appendix and the investigation file for PE15-021.

  3. INVESTIGATION: Powered vehicle rollaway

    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE15030

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: August 20, 2015
    • Date Closed: February 05, 2016
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Power Train:Automatic Transmission
    Power Train:Automatic Transmission:Gear Position Indication (Prndl)

    Summary: The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened Preliminary Evaluation PE15-030 on August 20, 2015, to investigate 14 complaints alleging incidents of rollaway after intended shifts to Park in Model Year (MY) 2014 and 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees vehicles. The MY 2014-2015 Grand Cherokee vehicles are equipped with Monostable electronic ("E-shift") gearshift assemblies supplied by ZF Group (ZF). The E-shift system operates electronically and the gear requested by the driver is transmitted from the shifter via the CAN Bus to the Transmission Control Module which makes the requested shift. The Monostable gearshift does not move into a detent but springs back to a centered/neutral position after the driver selects a gear and releases the shifter. A button on the shift knob must be depressed to shift out of Park, shift out of Neutral, and to shift from Drive to Reverse or Park.The gear selected is shown on a display in the dash and illuminated letters on the shifter. If the driver's door is opened when the gearshift is not in Park, a chime sounds and a message is displayed on the instrument panel to warn the driver.In addition, the engine Start/Stop push-button control logic does not permit normal engine shut-off when the transmission is not in Park. This logic may provide feedback to drivers who attempt to turn the engine off when the transmission is not in Park. However, this function does not protect drivers who intentionally leave the engine running or drivers who do not recognize that the engine is still running.NHTSA testing during PE15-030 indicates that operation of the Monostable shifter is not intuitive and provides poor tactile and visual feedback to the driver, increasing the potential for unintended gear selection.ODI-s analysis of the PE15-030 complaint and field report data identified 306 incidents of vehicle rollaway followingintended shifts to Park in the 2014-2015 Grand Cherokee. These resulted in 117 alleged crashes. Twenty-eight of the crashes reportedly caused injuries, including 3 with a fractured pelvis and 4 others requiring some degree of hospitalization (a ruptured bladder, fractured kneecap, broken ribs, damaged to right leg). Other injuries include reports of a broken nose, facial lacerations requiring stitches, sprained knees, severe bruising, and trauma to legs.An Engineering Analysis (EA16-002) has been opened to assess the scope, frequency, and safety-related consequences of the alleged defect. The Vehicle Owner Questionnaires (VOQs) associated with the closing of this Preliminary Evaluation are:10823099, 10822939, 10822442, 10820488, 10817252, 10810551, 10810051, 10809691, 10809024, 10807839, 10807416, 10794318, 10787947, 10787576, 10785790, 10783597, 10778854, 10775391, 10767488, 10766494, 10763333, 10763284, 10763082, 10762457, 10761498, 10760980, 10760729, 10760702, 10760081, 10759979, 10759669, 10759622, 10759568, 10759548, 10759533, 10759287, 10759278, 10759198, 10759186, 10759157, 10759131, 10759102, 10759082, 10759066, 10759047, 10759046, 10733158, 10730952, 10716526, 10711893, 10683556, 10679497, 10676998, 10668651, 10662619, 10662308, 10631167, 10605865, 10583366, 10567538, 10555901, and 10537653.

  4. INVESTIGATION: Vehicle rollaway, engine on

    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA16002

    Component(s): Power Train:Automatic Transmission:Gear Position Indication (Prndl)

    Summary: On April 22, 2016, Fiat Chrysler Automotive US LLC, (FCA) submitted a Defect Information Report (DIR) to NHTSA regarding a defect that could result in unattended vehicle rollaway with the engine running in approximately 811,586 model year (MY) 2012 to 2014 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 vehicles and MY 2014 to 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles equipped with 8-speed transmissions and a monostable gear selector (NHTSA Recall #16V-240, FCA Recall #S27). According to FCA's DIR, "The existing strategies built into these vehicles to deter drivers from exiting the vehicle after failing to put the transmission into PARK have not stopped some from doing so. Drivers erroneously concluding that their vehicle's transmission is in the PARK position may be struck by the vehicle and injured if they attempt to get out of the vehicle while the engine is running and the parking brake is not engaged."The vehicles recalled by FCA are equipped with Monostable electronic ("shift-by-wire") gearshift assemblies supplied by ZF Group (see Figure 1).The subject Monostable shifter has a single neutral position that it snaps back to when the driver releases the shift knob.Although the Monostable gearshift has the familiar appearance of a conventional console mechanical gearshift assembly, it has an unfamiliar movement that does not provide the tactile or visual feedback that drivers are accustomed to receiving from conventional shifters.Consequently, the driver must take additional time to verify that the desired gear position was achieved by checking the PRNDL display on the shift knob or the Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC) display.

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