2014 Jeep Cherokee
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Jeep Cherokee Delay Prompts Layoffs in Ohio

The Chrysler Group has idled the second shift at the Toledo Assembly Plant that is responsible for the new Jeep Cherokee, leaving around 500 workers temporarily out of work while the company tries to prepare those Cherokee units already produced to be shipped to dealers around the country.

The new Jeep Cherokee has been plagued by delays but when the Chrysler Group hired a second shift to build the Cherokee at the Toledo Assembly Plant on August 19th, it seemed that things were finally getting underway as expected. Production officially began in late June and the added shift in August was expected to increase the production capability for these new SUVs up to around 800 a day. However, with the workers having built the first 9,430 Cherokees since the end of June, Chrysler has decided to temporarily lay off those second shift workers.

The problem seems to lie in the fact that none of these early Jeep Cherokee SUVs have been shipped to dealerships around the country and with no vehicles going out – there is really no reason to keep building new models. The million dollar question is why aren’t these vehicles being delivered to dealerships? When the company first began production of the Cherokee back in June, it was expected that these new models would reach dealerships in full force by mid-August. Well, he it is getting to be late September and there have still been no new Cherokees sent to dealerships around the US. Chrysler has since amended their expected launch time to “by the end of the third quarter”…which means that these vehicles would begin streaming to dealerships around the country by next Monday.

There has been massive speculation that all of the Jeep Cherokee delays have come due to calibration issues with the new 9-speedn automatic transmission. There was some sort of software issue that needed to be addressed before sending any vehicles onto the consumer market and this software issue is allegedly responsible for the delays. Considering that the 2014 Cherokee features a brand new engine and a brand new transmission with the new 3.2L Pentastar V6 mated to the industry’s first 9-speed automatic transmission, there are likely to be some bugs to work out before the company begins selling vehicles but the repeated delays aren’t resonating too well with the consumer market or the media. On one hand, it looks a bit bad that Chrysler is running into these problems but in the long run, it is much better for the company to delay the launch and fix these problems before those problems affect new owners.

Chrysler has also stated that the company is doing “extended quality validation testing” – presumably to address any issues that could create an unpleasant ownership experience for the buyers. Again, while delays create bad publicity, they are less of a long term problem than rushing vehicles to the consumer market only to have problems crop up in the hands of private owners. People forget about production delays much more quickly than they forget about mass recalls or mechanical issues that plague a new model.

Source: Automotive News

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