Auto News for Feb. 9

This is not a recall, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is upgrading and expanding its investigation of the electronic gear shifter in some Fiat Chrysler products. Consumers have complained that the shifter is confusing to the degree that the vehicle may not be in park when operators thought it was. NHTSA said it has received more than 300 reports of Jeep Grand Cherokees rolling away unexpectedly leading to 117 alleged crashes and 28 injuries. FCA said it is cooperating with the investigation that now covers 2014-15 Grand Cherokees, 2012-14 Dodge Chargers and Chrysler 300 models with the 3.6-liter engine. The agency said the shifters are “not intuitive” with “poor tactile and visual feedback to the driver, increasing the potential for unintended gear selection.” FCA changed the shifter design in the Charger 300 models in 2015 and the Grand Cherokee in the 2016 model year, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Automotive loan balances jumped 11.5 percent to $987 billion in the fourth quarter, Experian Automotive said. This marks the highest level on record since the company started tracking date in 2006. Thirty day delinquencies are down across the board.

SEMA is speaking out against what it says is a proposed EPA regulation that would prohibit conversion of street vehicles into race cars. It would also make the sale of certain products for use on such vehicles illegal, SEMA maintains. President and CEO Chris Kersting said the proposal “represents overreaching by the agency, runs contrary to the law and defies decades of racing activity where EPA has acknowledged and allowed conversion of vehicles.” He said Congress did not intend the original Clean Air Act to extend to modified race cars.

Subaru concept

Look for a Subaru XV Concept car to be unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show in early March. The company released a teaser photo of the car but added no further information.




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