The rollout of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee to the market would be delayed by a few months as Chrysler implements some tweaks on the production process at its Toledo Assembly Complex. Union officials say the delay in the Cherokee launch is due to fit-and-finish issues at the site's new body shop while sources privy to Chrysler say engineers are still fine-tuning the performance of the nine-speed transmission in the vehicle.
Reid Bigland, head of US and Canadian sales for Chrysler, has remarked this month that the 2014 Cherokee will start contributing to sales either on September, October or November. Chrysler had said the Cherokee will be available in the third quarter of 2013.
A spokeswoman for the carmaker has reiterated that the Cherokee will start contributing to sales in September 2013. Chrysler invested $500 million to revamp its Toledo Assembly Complex to accommodate the Cherokee. Union and company officials said the carmaker has been conducting pilot builds for weeks to address quality issues before starting to produce salable units.
Earlier this year, executives at the carmaker said that they would start producing salable units in late May 2013. Chrysler spokeswoman Jodi Tinson remarked that the 2014 Jeep Cherokee is an all-new vehicle being produced in an all-new body shop on a whole new process, so they will continue to have suppliers to address issues and tweak processes as they ramp up production.
The Cherokee is Chrysler's first Jeep built on a Fiat platform. According to Bigland, Chrysler's decision not to roll out the Cherokee until it was ready is a sign that the carmaker has changed.
He noted that the under the new Chrysler, they are "extremely cautious with what goes out to the market," particularly when regarding new products. He remarked they only have one chance to make a "positive first impression." However, the Cherokee's delayed launch would make it harder for Jeep to match its global sales record of 701,626 units in 2012.