Chrysler said that the delay in the production launch for the 2014 Jeep Cherokee will not affect sales.
“We did start with an initial scheduled plan of the third week in May, and now we are into mid-June, ” Mark Chernoby, Chrysler’s senior vice president of engineering, told the Free Press. “That is just due to a wide range of issues.”
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee is manufactured at the Toledo North assembly plant and replaces the Liberty. The automaker relies on this model to boost sales and revenue, after profit during the first quarter fell 65% mainly due to the Jeep Liberty elimination. Building the Cherokee is more complex compared to other vehicles, as the model is based on an underbody adapted from Fiat and is the first Chrysler model to be fitted with a nine-speed transmission developed with ZF Group, a German supplier.
“With sales planned for September, this gives them roughly three months to work out issues. The Jeep customer is astute and (Chrysler) needs to make this a grand slam,” said Dave Sullivan, an automotive analyst with AutoPacific.
Until now the Toledo plant has been building pilot versions of the Jeep Cherokee, which will not reach dealerships. Beginning next week the automaker will manufacture 200 Cherokees which will be used for media test drives and regulatory testing.