We live in an era of instant gratification. We want everything, right now, done perfectly, right away. A consequences of that is that delays, even when legitimate, are seen as a sign of incompetence, slow movement and an inability to get things done. In many cases, it’s true. But that doesn’t mean we should pillory Chrysler for delaying production of the Cherokee again.
Speaking to the Detroit Free Press, Chrysler spokesperson Jodi Tinson outlined Chrysler’s plans for the new Jeep, the brand’s most important product in years
“We are taking this very slowly, and I think it has already been communicated that we are doing some recalibration on transmissions. We continue to do some quality verification. We will release the Cherokees at a time we are satisfied with their quality and not a day before.”
On the one hand, this is hardly the first time the Cherokee has been delayed. It’s an extraordinarily important product for Chrysler, a symbol of the tie-up with Fiat and the Jeep brand’s global expansion into a booming segment. The constant delays speak to troubling problems related to assembly and supplier quality issues.
On the other hand, it’s refreshing to see Chrysler resist the temptation to release the car early and simply take the short term payoff (launch on time, avoiding press coverage of delays) in favor of the long term payoff of releasing a well made car, free of defects or major issues. Chrysler deserves to be applauded. Other OEMs would not take such a route.
Chrysler is sacrificing momentum, reputation, consumer consideration and huge sums of money in the name of getting things right. Meanwhile, workers at Toledo will be idle as engineers seek to fix the problem. One can only imagine the internal struggles that preceded this decision. TTAC’s criticisms of the Cherokee’s quality issues were made with their best interests at heart, not in the name of yellow journalism or shock blogging in the name of “clicks”. It would be rather narcissistic to suggest that TTAC alone helped spur this action, but by the same token, I hope that Chrysler was listening, and that the Cherokee will emerge as a better vehicle, and a successful one at that.