Jeep is counting on the new Cherokee to help continue its streak of year-over-year sales growth, but the brand is facing production related challenges that could torpedo their quest for three consecutive years of sales growth.
Despite adding jobs at their Toledo plant (including 200 new positions for Wrangler production and a third shift to build the Grand Cherokee), Jeep is facing capacity constraints.
Jeep’s Mike Manley told Automotive News that expansion was inevitable if the current sales pace kept up
“At some stage you get to a point where you have to make significant investment to [add] capacity,” Manley said, “and when we get to that point, we’ll be able to make that announcement.”
Meanwhile, the upcoming 2014 Cherokee is expected to play a big role in Jeep’s growth this year (Chrysler is targeting 800,000 units globally, up from 700,000 last year), but AN is reporting that the May 23 production start date will be delayed by two weeks. That, plus refreshes to the Compass, Patriot and Grand Cherokee (which feature, among other things, new transmissions) and the cessation of Liberty production, have led to a sales decline over the past five months.