Despite the mixed reception to the 2014 Jeep Cherokee's bold new styling, Chrysler has no doubts about the new SUV's popularity. This is evidenced by the company's major investment in the Toledo North plant, which will build the Cherokee. The Detroit Free Press is reporting Chrysler is planning to hire more than 1000 workers to build the new SUV when it launches later this year. Ultimately, Toledo North is expected to employ 1900 workers when production reaches full capacity.
Bruce Baumhower, president of UAW Local 12, the union representing Toledo workers, said he expected production of the Cherokee to surpass that of the already red-hot Wrangler, with a total annual production of up to 250,000 units of the Cherokee, some for export. Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has noted the brand's aggressive export strategy over the next few years as it expands into emerging markets.
The outgoing Liberty sold just 75,000 units last year, likely owing to its dated design and poor fuel economy relative to competitors. The new Cherokee, with its more aerodynamic design and crossover chassis, promises much improved fuel economy and content and features designed to appeal to a broader audience than the truckish Liberty.