Production of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee will resume on Monday, September 30, after Chrysler Group temporarily idled part of its Toledo North factory earlier this week. The downtime was linked to a problem calibrating and testing the nine-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel-drive systems for the 2014 Jeep Cherokee.
Production of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee was delayed several times this summer as the automaker worked to prepare its assembly lines and calibrate the automatic transmission's software. On Monday, the factory was idled because the automaker had built a large number of vehicles but wasn't ready to ship them to dealers. Now a company statement reveals that delay was again caused by troubles with the new transmission.
"As we continue to refine the vehicle's powertrain software, we are implementing a plan that will allow us to make the required updates more quickly than anticipated, thereby making additional layoffs unnecessary at this time," read a Chrysler statement. "This is the world's first application of a highly technical nine-speed transmission… We will only introduce a vehicle to consumers when we are completely satisfied."
Chrysler planned to have the 2014 Jeep Cherokee in showrooms by September, but company representatives previously asserted that Chrysler will only launch new vehicles when they are perfect. That's seen as a better approach than launching a flawed product and being forced to recall or correct it at a later date.
According to Automotive News, one of the biggest sticking points is the feature that disconnects the rear drive axle in low-load driving. That allows the 2014 Jeep Cherokee to act as a front-wheel-drive crossover and save fuel. However, ensuring that feature works with the new nine-speed automatic, each of the Cherokee's two available engines, and the three different four-wheel-drive systems is reportedly proving problematic. To test the 2014 Jeep Cherokee powertrain, engineers reportedly must road-test each vehicle after it leaves the assembly line.
With its 2.4-liter inline-four engine and front-wheel drive, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee returns up to 22/31 mpg (city/highway), a figure that drops to 21/28 mpg with all-wheel drive. Opting for the 3.2-liter V-6 engine results in efficiency ratings of 19/28 mpg with front-wheel drive, and 19/27 mpg with all-wheel drive. The 2014 Jeep Cherokee starts at $23,990, including destination charges.