With one major hurdle to Fiat-Chrysler merger almost out of the way, chief executive Sergio Marchionne is now focused on expanding the global reach of the Jeep brand. In fact, Marchionne has recently made a prediction for Jeep -- sales of 1 million SUVs around the world for 2014 or a 37-percent jump from Jeep's global sales in 2013.
Marchionne remarked at the Detroit Auto Show that while the lack of a mid-sized SUV in the United States hit overall sales 2013, strong demand for the Jeep Cherokee will help Chrysler increase sales by 37 percent. Since production of the Jeep Liberty ended last year and any remaining sales were minimal, the automaker did not have a mid-size SUV offering in the American SUV market.
Chrysler was only able to sell Cherokee in the final two months of 2013 and Marchionne remarked that there is indication that the company would make up for lost sales this year.
"We've got the small Jeep coming out of Europe," he said, referring to some late-year sales for the unnamed compact SUV that will be unveiled at the Geneva auto show in March.
Marchionne said that the increased output of the Grand Cherokee, the top-selling Jeep in 2013 will help Chrysler achieve its sales target this year. Production of the Grand Cherokee surged after Chrysler was able to get rid of some of the bottlenecks at the Jefferson North plant in Detroit. Marchionne added that they expect more output from the Wrangler site in Toledo, Ohio.
Jeep is bringing back the Cherokee name to its stable for the 2014 model year. The new 2014 Jeep Cherokee will be the brand’s new offering in the mid-size sport-utility vehicle (SUV) segment, bringing along with it its legendary Jeep 4x4 capability, superior on-road ride and handling and a nine-speed automatic transmission. Moreover, the new Jeep Cherokee delivers a revolutionary design, world-class craftsmanship and groundbreaking technologies as well as more than 70 advanced safety and security elements. Compared to the outgoing Jeep Liberty, the new Jeep Cherokee is over 45 percent more fuel efficient.
Mike Manley, president and chief executive of the Jeep Brand at Chrysler Group LLC, remarked that the all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee will set a new benchmark for mid-size SUVs, thanks to its high level of on-road driving dynamics, 4x4 capability and fuel economy. He added that the new Cherokee brings along with a new design, two advanced engines and a nine-speed automatic transmission as well as three 4x4 systems. In addition, the new Jeep Cherokee comes loaded with over 70 safety features and an array of new technological features.
As Jeep, the new Cherokee comes with the vaunted 4x4 capability. This is boosted by the availability of three 4x4 systems that allow the Cherokee to offer class-leading 4x4 capability in any weather condition. Interestingly, the new Jeep Cherokee is the first in its segment to have rear-axle disconnect. This rear-axle disconnect could seamlessly switch between two- and four-wheel drive to allow full-time torque management, thereby reducing the amount of fuel consumed whenever the Cherokee doesn’t need its 4x4 capability.
Likewise, the new Jeep Cherokee leads its class it terms of V-6 towing capability, as the new mid-size could tow up to 4,500 pounds.