Chrysler has publicly acknowledged delays in building the Jeep Cherokee in statements to Automotive News’Larry Vellequette .
Production had been meant to start in late May, but have been delayed to August or early September, as previously reported by Allpar. Some issues include heat problems with four wheel drive systems and the fit of certain body parts.
In the distant past, Chrysler lost credibility by either cutting testing time or moving forward with production regardless, resulting in the disastrous 1957 cars, the 1976 Volare/Aspen quality/rust debacle, and the 1989-91 “Ultradrive” automatic transmission failures (which Consumer Reports held was second in severity only to the transmissions in the early Ford Taurus). Since Sergio Marchionne has taken over, however, Chrysler has tried to minimize quality gaffes and has taken broad measures to prevent problems from reaching customers. The company has also issued numerous recalls and advisories to deal with problems that do make it through.
The lack of Cherokees is likely to result in Jeep failing to reach 2012’s sales numbers, since the Liberty has not been built this year, and is out of stock at most dealerships. Grand Cherokee and Wrangler production has already been maximized. The only opportunity for growth is in Compass and Patriot, refreshed for this model year with conventional automatic transmissions (except on Trail Rated models).