By Bernie Woodall and David Shepardson
CHELSEA, Mich./WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Software upgrades for 1.1 million Jeep vehicles that were recalled for rollaway risks, including the Jeep Grand Cherokee, will be available by the end of this month, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV's <FCHA.MI> <FCAU.N> chief of Jeep brand Mike Manley said Thursday.
A 2015 Grand Cherokee was recently involved in the death of actor Anton Yelchin.
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"We are going to be rolling out the recall (fix) before the end of this month," Manley said.
The upgraded software includes an “auto park” feature that eliminates the possibility of the driver inadvertently failing to place the transmission into park prior to exiting the vehicle, according to a document sent to dealers first reported by the automotive website Jalopnik.
Manley said the company was conducting a "thorough investigation" of the Yelchin incident but did not estimate when such a probe would be completed. Los Angeles police and U.S. safety officials are also conducting their own investigations.
He said that Jeep engineers are hoping to inspect the 2015 Grand Cherokee involved in the death of Yelchin, who appeared in the movie "Star Trek."
“We have not been able to but will as soon as possible carry out a full investigation. Until that stage, obviously, there’s a huge amount of speculation of what may or may not have happened. I’m not entirely sure that’ useful at this moment.”
Yelchin was killed when his SUV rolled backward in the steep
driveway of his Los Angeles home and pinned him against a brick
wall and a fence.
The problem of vehicles rolling away when they are not supposed to compounded for FCA on Thursday when its Maserati brand recalled 13,092 Quattroporte and Ghibli luxury cars in the United States for issues similar to the Jeep recalls.
The Maserati models, U.S. safety officials said, were recalled because they may roll away after drivers mistakenly believe they have engaged the vehicles in park mode.
In April, Fiat Chrysler recalled 1.1 million vehicles worldwide over the same issue, including the 2012-2014 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans and 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs.
FCA officials did not immediately respond to questions about whether the Maserati recall covers any vehicles outside the United States.
The earlier recall was linked to 41 injuries, 212 crashes and 308 reports of property damage, and came after the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation in August into the issue and upgraded the probe in February.
Maserati North America said in documents posted with NHTSA it was unaware of any injuries or crashes linked to the issue.
Maserati is investigating whether a software re-flash will fix the problem and hopes to have the fix ready later this year.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum and Cynthia Osterman)