Since the middle of the summer, the delivery target on the 2014 Jeep Cherokee has been on-again, off-again. The September on-sale target has been officially missed by a month, and many dealers, eagerly anticipating the long-overdue replacement to the dated Liberty, are getting anxious about the timing of the vehicle's availability, the Detroit Free Press reports. Many are starting to receive customer inquiries, and some have already taken orders on the new model.
The vehicles coming out of the Toledo plant are reportedly starting to stack up at rail yards and parking lots around the Toledo area, awaiting the green light for delivery to dealers. Asked about the ongoing delay, Jeep Cherokee product public relations manager Kathy Graham issued the following statement:
"Chrysler Group is the final stages of validating the updated powertrain calibrations. The company will not ship vehicles until we are fully satisfied the Cherokee meets customer expectations for performance, refinement and quality. The 2014 Jeep Cherokee has an all-new nine-speed transmission, two new powertrains, three advanced four-wheel-drive systems and has undergone more than 14 million test miles in order to ensure the vehicle meets our highest quality standards. Once the latest powertrain calibration is validated, the company will be able to quickly update the powertrain software on Cherokees already built and ship vehicles to dealership around the country in quantity."
The crux of the issue seems to be the calibration of the new nine-speed automatic transmission. With an estimated backlog of more than 10,000 vehicles, the logistical issue of individually reflashing the powertrain modules of each model could become a daunting task. Although frustrating to dealers, delivery delays for new models are not unprecedented. The launch of the redesigned Lincoln MKZ was delayed for several months as the cars were shipped from their factory of origin in Hermosillo, Mexico, to Flat Rock, Michigan, for a final quality inspection before being shipped to dealers.
Source: Detroit Free Press, Chrysler