The start of the production for the new 2014 Jeep Cherokee has been pushed back nearly a month, the Detroit Free Press reports. The crossover was originally slated to start production in Toledo, Ohio, by the middle of this month, but now production won't begin until the middle of June.
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee was reportedly delayed because of a "wide range of issues" related to launching a brand-new model. Those include adjusting the tooling and preparing manual tasks along the production line, and calibrating the Cherokee's new nine-speed automatic transmission. Chrysler announced in March that it was spending $500 million to add a new body shop and perform other upgrades on the Toledo factory. Other changes included switching to Chrysler's "World Class Manufacturing" system that is designed to reduce waste and downtime, and ensuring workstations are ergonomically correct.
In a speech at the Kokomo, Indiana, transmission plant in February, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said that the new Jeep Cherokee would start production in May or June of this year.
Chrysler spokeswoman Kathy Graham told us that there is, "No delay to when customers are going to get cars." She said this sort of production delay is normal when launching an all-new car; per the orders of CEO Marchionne, the company corrects as many issues as possible before launching the car, even if that means delays, rather than shipping vehicles that may need tweaks at a later date.
Graham told us that Cherokees should arrive in Jeep showrooms by the third quarter of this year, as previously planned. The company is already building "pilot-phase" Cherokees that could be used for various tests. "We will start framing these cars for retail customers in the middle of June," Chrysler senior vice president of engineering Mark Chernoby told the Free Press.
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee was introduced at the New York auto show earlier this year. It is a totally new unibody design that is based on the same Compact U.S. Wide platform as the Dodge Dart sedan. Nonetheless, it will have plenty of off-road capability, with optional four-wheel drive, up to 8.6 inches of ground clearance, and Jeep's Select-Terrain system. The Cherokee offers a choice between a 271-hp, 3.2-liter V-6 engine, and a 184-hp, 2.4-liter inline-four, with a nine-speed automatic transmission.
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee is not the only vehicle built in Toledo: Chrysler also announced today that it expects to build the one millionth example of the current generation Jeep Wrangler. The one millionth "JK" (pictured below) was expected to roll off the assembly line at 11 a.m. today.