REUTERS - Chrysler Group LLC is recalling about 469,000 SUVs worldwide to update software after some vehicles' circuit boards were found to be transmitting signals that trigger inadvertent gear shifts to neutral, the No. 3 U.S. automaker said Saturday.
Included are 2006- to 2010-model-year Jeep Commanders and 2005 to 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokees, of which about 295,000 are in the United States, 28,500 are in Canada and 4,200 are in Mexico. The remaining 141,000 are outside of North America.
Chrysler was aware of 26 accidents and 2 injuries related to the gearshift problem but no fatalities, a company spokesman said.
It was Chrysler's largest recall since more than 900,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty SUVs were recalled worldwide in November to fix a part that could cause airbags to deploy inadvertently.
Chrysler, an affiliate of Italy's Fiat SpA (FIA.MI), also said it is recalling 532 2013-model-year Ram 1500 pickup trucks in the United States and Canada, a third of which remain in dealer inventories, to inspect and possibly replace windshield defrosting and defogging components.
Additionally, the company said it is recalling about 5,330 right-hand-drive 2008 to 2012 Jeep Wranglers to install dust shields to prevent dust buildup that could compromise airbag operation. All of the vehicles, used mostly for rural mail delivery, are in the United States.
Chrysler said it was unaware of any accidents or injuries linked to the Ram and Wrangler recall issues.
The company said it will directly contact affected customers and make the repairs for free.
Chrysler, which emerged from a government-sponsored bankruptcy four years ago, last month reported a steep drop in quarterly profits due to an aggressive new-vehicle launch schedule, but said it was on track to meet its business targets, expecting a strong second half of 2013.
Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Chrysler and its Italian parent Fiat, which currently owns a 58.5 percent share of the U.S. automaker, said there was a 50-50 chance that Fiat's buyout of Chrysler would be finalized by June 2014. (Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago; Editing by Mark Potter and Jackie Frank)