The second shift of 500 workers at Chrysler Group’s Toledo Assembly Complex building its new 2014 Jeep Cherokee will return to work on September 30, 2013, after a week of being idled. Chrysler idled the workers on September 23, after determining that a sizeable number of Cherokees already built have yet to be released to dealers.
The workers’ return comes as Chrysler’s engineers are speeding software fixes to smooth out the interaction between the Cherokee’s engines, transmission and disconnecting drivetrain. It remains unclear when the carmaker will start shipping out the already built Cherokees to dealers.
Chrysler spokeswoman Jodi Tinson said in a statement that as they refine the sport utility vehicle's powertrain software, they are implementing a plan that will enable them to make the required updates “more quickly than anticipated.”
Chrysler has yet to ship at least 12,000 assembled Cherokees to dealers -- worth at least $300 million retail -- to fix their software.
A source told Automotive News that software is responsible for regulating the interaction between the nine-speed transmission and the SUV’s disconnecting driveshaft and differential.
Chrysler confirmed the issue in a statement, noting that “this is the world's first application of a highly technical nine-speed transmission” that is paired to two new engines and three complex 4x4 systems.
Chrysler remarked that they will only start selling the 2014 Jeep Cherokee when they are “completely satisfied." The carmaker is also test driving each Cherokee before releasing it for delivery to ensure that the powertrain is working right.