We've been investigating this story for 2 years. It started when a local woman contacted us after her car went into reverse without warning. It took hundreds of complaints and even a death before Daimler Chrysler initiated a recall just this summer. But some consumers say the company stops short of its responsibility leaving them in a dead end.
It was a cold day in March 2002, a day Bonnie Rogers will never ever forget. Her son hit the shift and the next thing she knew the car had rolled out of the driveway and rolled across the street, over this cement bench and into the lake. Bonnie watched helplessly as her 3 year old son and her car rolled into the lake.
5 months ago, Russell Micheli watched in disbelief as his car came crashing through a garage door causing more than one thousand dollars worth of damage.
Two separate cases, with one thing in common, both Russell and Bonnie own Dodge Intrepids and both cars have a very serious defect-the shift on their automatic 1998 and 1999 Intrepids could move into reverse without the car even running. But when we reported Bonnie's problem to Daimler Chrysler two years ago, they refused to admit there was a problem. Ever since, we've been keeping track of these, hundreds of complaints from consumers nationwide all claiming their cars rolled backwards without any warning.
Then on June 14, 2004, Daimler Chrysler announced one of the largest recalls in history 2.7 million cars, the problem? A defected floor shift. Both blame the defective shift for their accidents, and believe Daimler Chrysler should pay for the damages. However, in both cases, the car manufacturer took no responsibility. Pawtucket Consumer Attorney Chris Lefebvre says if Daimler Chrysler acknowledges there is a defect then the company should pay the repair bills.
Daimler Chrysler in both cases said they were unable to find evidence that the accidents happened because of the defect...this, they say, was based on the inspection report from an independent engineering firm, which we later found out was actually hired by Daimler Chrysler.
We asked for a copy of that report, and we were told it is not public document.