Second shift workers at Chrysler Toledo plant return to work but no Cherokees yet

Article by Anita Panait, on October 1, 2013

The 500 second shift workers at Chrysler’s Toledo assembly went back to work Monday to build the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. Chrysler placed the workers on a temporary layoff on September 23, 2013 after it determined that it had built around 12,000 Cherokees that have yet to be sent to dealers pending repairs.

Chrysler has blamed some issues related to the powertrain software for the Cherokee that manages the SUVs powertrain and how it interacts with innovative disconnecting drivetrain.

In a statement, Chrysler has said that they will only introduce a vehicle to consumers when it is “completely satisfied." Chrysler also experienced delays in starting the production of the Cherokee, which had its start of production moved to June 24 from the initial date of May 23.

At the end of June, Jeep brand head Mike Manley remarked that he expected Cherokees to be rolled out to dealers as early as mid-August, adding that the SUVS would begin affecting Chrysler’s sales results significantly in the third quarter, which ends on Sept. 30.

Earlier in September, Manley said that "a true commercial launch" of Cherokee marketing would start by early October. The 2014 Jeep Cherokee features two engines, a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder and a 3.2-liter V-6, a nine-speed automatic transmission and a disconnecting driveshaft and differential.

All these components are new to Chrysler and have not been combined before on one vehicle – thus the difficulty on the carmaker’s part to things seamless as planned. An operating software has to be developed to manage complex operations like shifting patterns, and the timing of automatic disconnection or reconnection of the rear driveshaft for added traction.

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