A number of the 2008 Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles will be equipped with what appears to be a version of the Mercedes Benz SmartKey and Drive Authorization System. This type of ignition system operates with radio frequency (RF) signals from the ignition lock and the electronic key that, when correct, permits the ignition to rotate to start and operate the engine.
The ignition lock is no longer mechanical, being replaced with a version of the Mercedes Benz Drive Authorization System. Only the driver's door lock on the Caravan was equipped with a mechanical lock in case the battery dies or the remote is unable to gain access into the passenger compartment.
The Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep SmartKey is an electromechanical remote with an extension designed to enter the dash mounted ignition receptacle. Once the SmartKey enters the ignition receptacle, the SmartKey and the ignition communicate. If the SmartKey is programmed to the vehicle, rotating the ignition to the start position engages the starter and the engine can start and operate.
According to sources, the first 2008 Chrysler vehicles to be equipped with this non-mechanical ignition system are the 300, Aspen and Town & Country. The 2008 Dodge models are the Caravan, Charger and Magnum. The 2008 Jeep models are the Commander and Compass.