Cherokee sales show Jeep was spot on image

The oddly designed fifth-generation of the model was universally panned by Jeep enthusiasts because of the total departure from the rugged, boxy design tradition. Even the iconic grille received a makeover – something that attracted many controversies.

But, a year after the model hit dealerships – “fashionably” late because of problems with the production of the brand new nine-speed automatic transmission – the Cherokee is slowly creeping its way on top of the Jeep lineup. The 4×4 specialist brand had the Cherokee as its best-selling model in September in the United States, as the unconventional Jeep is making a name for itself in the midsize sport utility and crossover vehicle segment.

“We’re getting a lot of new, conquest buyers out of imports and domestics,” says Jeep marketing director Jim Morrison. The vehicle hit US dealer lots back in October 2013 and in the passing year it has reached sales of around 154,000 units – an average of more than 14,200 per month. That pace is putting the model close to the top of the brand’s lineup when it comes to deliveries and the Cherokee has also enjoyed a positive demand from overseas markets – global sales are of 167,211 vehicles through September.

According to Kelley Blue Book, domestically the Cherokee makes up around 10% of the midsize utility and crossover vehicle segment, with sales of 128,133 units during the first nine months of 2014. Currently, it’s in third spot in his segment, trailing the Chevrolet Equinox at 184,805 and Jeep Grand Cherokee at 136,310.