Chrysler said that the production launch of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee has been delayed for about one month, due to “a wide range of issues.” However, Chrysler assured dealers they will have sufficient inventory of the SUV by fall.
“We did start with an initial scheduled plan of the third week in May, and now we are into mid-June,” said Mark Chernoby, Chrysler’s senior vice president of engineering, according a Detroit Free Press report. “That is just due to a wide range of issues.” He added that these issues are common when launching an all-new car or truck and that the automaker is ironing them out.
The Cherokee is Chrysler’s and Jeep’s most important new model this year. Replacing the Liberty, it will be assembled at Chrysler’s Toledo North assembly plant. As Ford can testify, timing of new vehicles can have a strong impact. For instance, Chrysler’s first-quarter profit was down 65 percent from a year earlier partly because it is no longer producing or selling the Liberty.
Manufacturing the Cherokee is more complex than most new models because it uses an underbody adapted from Fiat and it is also one of the first Chrysler vehicle to feature a nine-speed transmission developed with German supplier ZF Group. However, Chernoby said Chrysler has not encountered any unusual issues or delays.
Among the common issues that are delaying the Cherokee, Chernoby listed the adjusting of both tooling and manual tasks along the assembly line and the calibration of the nine-speed transmission.
“Barring any new issue that comes up, we will start framing these cars for retail customers in the middle of June,” Chernoby said.
By Dan Mihalascu