Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced a massive recall of 4.8 million vehicles in the United States over concerns that the vehicle could get stuck in cruise control, the company announced. FCA has advised customers with affected vehicles to avoid using cruise control until they visit a service center to have their software upgraded. FCA says they are "unaware of any related injuries or accidents involving the affected vehicles."
The problem can arise when, while using cruise control, these vehicles accelerate to maintain the set speed, there is a chance that this could happen at the same time as a short circuit in a "specific electrical network" in the car, which could leave the car stuck in cruise control. When this error arises, it would not be possible to cancel cruise control by tapping the brakes or using the buttons on the car's steering wheel which is the normal way to stop cruise control. However, cruise control can still be "overpowered by the vehicle's brakes" or stopped by "shifting into neutral and braking accordingly," FCA said. FCA announced they will alert affected customers starting next week and will upgrade the software on the specific vehicles to fix the potential issue free of charge.
The company is also working with the NAFTA vehicle safety and regulatory compliance office to handle an unidentified number of additional affected vehicles in Canada, Mexico and "certain markets outside the NAFTA region." "Notwithstanding the extraordinary circumstances that must exist before a customer would experience a problem, we are taking this action because we are fully committed to vehicle safety," FCA Chief Technical Compliance Officer Mark Chernoby said in a statement. "We have a remedy and a widespread network of engaged dealers who are preparing to deliver service. We urge customers to follow the instructions on their recall notices." The affected models span six model years and only vehicles with automatic transmissions and gasoline-powered engines are involved.