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Where the Cherokees are, what’s wrong

by David Zatz on

ZF 9 speed automatic transmission controllerWith Jeep Cherokees being cleared out of their storage lots, it seemed logical to assume that they were being shipped out to dealers. This turned out not to be the case, with reliable sources telling Allpar that they were still having problems with the transmission control software — not being able to get in and out of gear at times, or skipping gears they should not be skipping. These problems have been the focus of internal investigations, and even plant workers are apparently being pressed into service to test the Cherokee fixes.

That brings up the question of where all those already-built Cherokees have ended up. They appear to have been pushed closer to dealerships, at interim staging areas. This is not necessarily unusual for a major launch; the first batch of new Grand Cherokees, some years ago, were stored in at least one empty football-stadium parking lot, with regional dealers coming en masse to drive them back to their dealerships, thereby both getting acquainted with the new cars and obtaining them on the same day.

According to the IPO registration document, Cherokee should make it out to dealerships within the next seven days, but this depends on getting the software straightened out and reliably tested. There is also the question of whether the software will be updated (“flashed”) by vendors in the storage areas, or whether Chrysler will be relying on dealerships to do it — a somewhat riskier proposition.

Update: The issue may be more complicated than first thought, and involve hardware-software  issues.

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304

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