The NHTSA gets involved in any cases where a consumer’s safety is at risk. One such incident opened up a case a few years back that involved Jaguar and a few of their vehicles. After extensive investigative work, it seems they could find nothing wrong with Jaguar Land Rover.
They could not come up with any answers that would explain the problems owners reported happening with their Land Rover vehicles. CarComplaints.com explains what problem occurred and what the findings were.
What led to the investigation opening up on the Jaguar vehicles?
After receiving seven complaints from Jaguar owners, the NHTSA opened up an investigation in December 2016. The reports claimed that particular Land Rover and Jaguar vehicles tended to roll away of their own accord.
However, when Jaguar was notified of the investigation, they handed over information to NHTSA about eight other incidents. In some cases, it resulted in accidents and injuries as well. The total number of cases rose to 15. Of those 15, there were 14 crashes and about three injuries reported.
The vehicles affected were 2012-2014 Land Rover Evoque SUV and 2013 Jaguar XF sedans. It seems that owners would put their vehicles in the PARK position, leave it running, and get out briefly to perform some task. The vehicle would, with no warning, start rolling forward. This would happen when no one else was in the vehicle at the time.
These vehicles have the electronic rotary-style gear switches in them. You would turn the dial to the gear you want to put it in, and the transmission would respond by switching to that particular gear.
What accidents and injuries occurred because of the incidents?
One owner reported leaving their vehicle while it was running after they selected the PARK gear. When they started opening the garage door, the vehicle moved forward, with no one inside. The 2013 Land Rover SUV, they were driving, kept going forward until it crashed into the garage wall.
Another driver sustained extensive injuries from the SUV they were driving. They put their Land Rover in PARK, left it running, and briefly checked their mailbox. The SUV moved forward, and while they ran to try to put the brakes on, they fell on their backs. This enabled the Land Rover to run over them, causing two fractures and snapped five tendons.
In yet another case, the vehicle, still running and left in PARK, rolled forward on its own, with no other person inside. The SUV ultimately crashed into another vehicle.
What were the results of the investigations?
The NHTSA investigated the 15 total incidents reported for the rolling issue. After four years of studying each case and checking out the gear shifting controls in the 39,000 affected models, the NHTSA concluded that they could not find any mechanical or electronic malfunctions in the gear shifting unit.
The Jaguar automotive company had its own investigation going on as well. They also concluded that there were no issues with the gear shifter. They ended their investigation by saying that, despite all 15 incidents being isolated ones, it had to be an operator error that caused the vehicles not to set itself in PARK properly.
However, NHTSA, who closed their investigation recently, says that it could open up again should more information come to light about the problem occurring. So, they haven’t necessarily blamed the vehicle operators for the problem.
Should more owners offer more information, the case could reopen to determine whether there is a safety defect or not. In the meantime, they consider the case closed.