The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has begun looking at Ford Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers from the 2002-2005 model years. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, out of some 1.4 million SUVs produced, more than 200 complaints have been filed with the government agency regarding transmission issues: 11 owners have said that the vehicle will go from park to reverse on its own, and 61 have said that the gearshift mechanism has failed when trying to get the SUV into or out of park.
NHTSA's action isn't a full-on investigation, and there is no recall – it is a "preliminary evaluation... to assess the scope, frequency and potential safety consequences of the alleged defect and any relationship of the alleged gearshift lever mechanism failures to the alleged vehicle rollaway incidents." For its part, a Ford spokesman has said, "We do not see a safety risk and we will be fully cooperating with the government with the investigation."
[Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution]