Automotive News is reporting from its sources that Chrysler will start shipping 2014 Jeep Cherokees to dealers within 10 days. Chrysler declined to comment but dealers report that status updates on their allotments indicate that they are on their way. About 23,000 of the all-new Cherokees have accumulated as Chrysler fine tuned and reinstalled drivetrain control software for smoother interaction between the engine, Chrysler’s new nine-speed automatic transmission licensed from ZF and a novel rear driveshaft that disconnects for better mileage.
In addition to the new nine speed transmission and disconnecting driveshaft, the Cherokee will be the first application of the new 3.2 liter version of the corporate Pentastar V6 engine, an option over the base 2.4L four. The new Jeeps were originally scheduled to go on sale in August. Early reviews of the Cherokee criticized the on-road manners of the transmission. In addition to upgrading the software, Chrysler is road testing every Cherokee before releasing them to dealers.
A Chrysler spokesman declined to comment on the updated delivery schedule, but dealers report seeing changes in the status of their overdue Cherokees last week, indicating they were on the way. As the software upgrade was being worked out, the SUVs have been piling up in storage lots in southern Michigan and northern Toledo, not far from Jeep’s main Toledo Assembly Complex. As the vehicles have been upgraded, they’ve been tested at a facility in Ottawa Lake, Michigan owned by axle supplier Dana that has a high speed oval and an extensive section for testing four wheel drive vehicles.