By on September 15, 2017

20-2014-jeep-cherokee-chrome-grille

Lucky is the new car buyer who isn’t saddled with a trip to the dealer for recall work within the first few years of ownership. The modern age provides us with a great many wonderful things — avocadoes year-round, transmission cogs we can count on all 10 fingers, UberEATS — but it hasn’t turned the average vehicle into a paragon of reliability.

Last year, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles issued a recall for 323,400 2014 and 2015 Jeep Cherokees, as well as 2015 Renegades, Chrysler 200s, and Ram ProMasters. FCA threw the 2018 Fiat 500X in there for good measure. The problem stemmed from the automaker’s finicky nine-speed automatic transmission. Thanks to insufficient crimps in the transmission sensor cluster’s wire harness (and the subsequent trouble code sent to the vehicle’s diagnostic system), some owners suddenly found their Jeep, Chrysler or Ram coasting along in neutral — a default position — instead of drive. Can’t have that.

The recall — a minor fix — didn’t seem like a big deal. The vehicles would normally be drivable (for a time, anyway) after the engine was shut off and turned back on again, making a trip to the nearest certified FCA dealership relatively trouble-free. For one Cherokee owner, however, the repair work stood to cost him $2,000 more than what he paid for the vehicle. (Read More…)

By on July 24, 2017

All-new 2017 Jeep® Compass - Image: JeepIf the rate of growth FCA’s Jeep brand experienced in the United States in 2016 could be carried forward into 2017, Jeep would sell 1,000,000 SUVs/crossovers this year.

Count the zeros. 1 million.

For a company that sold fewer than 300,000 vehicles per year coming out of the recession, that’s an absurd figure.

Jeep earned 5.4 percent of the overall auto market in the first half of 2016, yet through the first half of 2017, Jeep’s market share has taken a dive to 4.8 percent. In a market gone mad for utility vehicles — where sales of SUVs/crossovers are up 6 percent, year-over-year, despite the market’s downturn — no-car Jeep is losing sales faster than every auto brand aside from Chrysler and Smart.

Worrying? According to Jeep boss Mike Manley, Jeep is, “exactly where I thought we would be in the U.S.” (Read More…)

By on June 26, 2017

2017 Chrysler 300C - Image: FCA

Sure, there’s no vinyl bench seats and standard Slant Six engine, but this isn’t 1981 and Chrysler Corporation isn’t trying to boost sales by stripping down a LeBaron and calling it Special. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is, however, trying to make three models more appealing to the buying masses, meaning trim changes are afoot for 2018.

What models, you ask? Two very old sedans and a crossover. According to ordering documents sent to dealers, FCA plans to ratchet down the entry-level price of the 2018 Chrysler 300 and Jeep Cherokee, while also shaking up the bottom end of the Dodge Charger.  (Read More…)

By on April 10, 2017

2014-Jeep-Cherokee-002

Chinese car buyers are big fans of stretched American midsize sedans, and extra-long crossovers are seen as the next logical way for U.S. automakers to woo buyers into the brand.

In China, where Jeep began production of the Cherokee in late 2015, a new vehicle has appeared online ahead of the Shanghai Auto Show. Rather than a longer Cherokee, the concept in the image seems to preview an entirely new three-row Jeep that could see a different body and badge in North America. (Read More…)

By on February 24, 2017

2017 Jeep Compass

We knew that Jeep’s redesigned small crossover was going to be sized up, priced up, and niced up in order to avoid cannibalizing the Renegade. What we didn’t know was that Jeep would dump it into the KL Cherokee’s lap like a scalding cup of coffee. At $22,090, the base 2017 Compass is only a stone’s throw away from the larger model’s pre-destination price of $23,695 MSRP.

Worse still is that Fiat Chrysler’s inability to update or enhance the Jeep Cherokee in any meaningful way has helped sales implode in recent months. The KL was Jeep’s top selling model in 2015, with 220,260 units sold in the United States, but it took a sales hit of almost 30,000 vehicles the following year and saw a noticeably weaker beginning for 2017. (Read More…)

By on February 17, 2017

Jeep Wranglers Coming Down The Line In Toledo

To get its Toledo Assembly Complex ready for the all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles needs to go dark for a little while, meaning extended vacays for thousands of employees.

The proper term would be “temporary layoff,” but in an autoworker’s life, a job you know you can go back to makes these hassles forgivable. In this case, Toledo needs six months to retool. (Read More…)

By on November 3, 2016

2017 Jeep® Cherokee Trailhawk

After ending a 35-month streak of improved U.S. sales with a 3-percent year-over-year decline in September, Jeep volume slid 7 percent in October 2016, the second consecutive month of decline for the previously white-hot SUV brand.

Jeep’s best-selling Cherokee recorded the most significant plunge in October 2016, falling 23 percent from year-ago levels to rank third in Jeep sales. Only the Grand Cherokee, quickly becoming Jeep’s top seller, and the departing Patriot posted October improvements.

Jeep, so often the engine behind FCA’s growth when Chrysler, Dodge, and Fiat have struggled, was instead partly to blame for FCA’s 10-percent October decline.  (Read More…)

By on July 15, 2016

2016 Jeep® Cherokee 75th Anniversary edition

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is flinging cash at its Midwestern assembly plants as part of its world-conquering plan to boost Jeep production.

Yesterday, the automaker announced $1.05 billion in funding to retool its Belvidere, Illinois and Toledo, Ohio production facilities, and issued a kill date for one of its least popular products. (Read More…)

By on May 11, 2016

2016 Jeep Wrangler, Yokohama Geolandar G015 Launch, Moab, Utah, Image: Lerry Liu/Yokohama

More than 300 jobs are coming to a historic Toledo manufacturing site, and you can thank the car-buying public’s thirst for Jeeps for it.

Dana Holding Corp. is spending $70 million to build a 300,000 square foot axle plant at the former Willys-Overland site, with Jeep being its only named customer, Automotive News reports. (Read More…)

By on May 2, 2016

2016 Jeep® Renegade Latitude

The Jeep brand is Fiat-Chrysler’s biggest money maker, so it’s no wonder that CEO Sergio Marchionne is scattering factories around the world like a sailor’s offspring.

The company’s head honcho outlined his business plan for the brand in an interview published by Automotive News, and it involves no longer having to make a “Sophie’s Choice” decision with Jeep output. (Read More…)

By on April 1, 2016

00 - 1993 Jeep Cherokee in Colorado junkyard - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Examples of the XJ Jeep Cherokee are everywhere in Denver junkyards (nearly as numerous as late-1990s Subaru Outbacks, these days), and it takes a special one to make me deploy my camera. I thought the factory-installed orange tape stripes on this ’91 Cherokee Sport were interesting, and now today’s ’93 with innovative tree-branches-and-rattlecans camo job has made the cut. (Read More…)

By on December 14, 2015

17 - 1983 Jeep Chrokee in Colorado junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

Because we still see them all over the roads today, the still-in-production (in China) XJ Cherokee is the best-known Jeep Cherokee. However, AMC made a two-door version of the original SJ Wagoneer, called it the Cherokee, and built it for the 1974 through 1983 model years (just to confuse things, a four-door SJ Cherokee was added to the mix a few years into production).

We saw an XJ Cherokee Junkyard Find a couple of weeks ago, and here’s a final-year-of-production SJ from the same Denver self-service yard. (Read More…)

By on November 25, 2015

00 - 1991 Jeep Cherokee Sport in Colorado junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

The XJ Jeep Cherokee was made for approximately a thousand years (OK, 32 years, counting the still-in-production BAW Knight S12), and these trucks are still extremely easy to find here in Colorado. Nice XJs still command good prices here, but used-up ones fill the local wrecking yards. Since I shared a junked Grand Cherokee last week, it’s only fair that we should admire a discarded Colorado Cherokee Sport. (Read More…)

By on October 29, 2015

1

She seduced my soul.

She is a a 1989 Jeep Wagoneer with just over 200,000 miles and a fantastic maintenance history. With beautiful, thick leather seats and a working A/C system which is a huge deal here in Georgia, the old woody Jeep could only have been better if it had a stick and a four-wheel drive system mated to its iron-block 4.0-liter inline-six.

I started the bid at $700, a dealer who specializes in the Latino clientele bid it at $800, and then another fellow jumped in at $900. By the time bidding was at $1100, I waited a few seconds, and did a slicing motion with my hand which knocked it up to $1150.

Would I get it?

(Read More…)

By on December 8, 2014

2014 Jeep Cherokee LimitedIn each of the last three months, the Cherokee has been the best-selling model at America’s fastest-growing volume brand. Jeep sales are up 44% in the United States through the first eleven months of 2014, an improvement of 191,895 units.

Excluding the Cherokee, which wasn’t on sale until the fourth-quarter of 2013, Jeep sales are still up 10% in 2014 and 15% in November. Those Cherokee-less increases still far outpace the auto industry as a whole, which is up a little more than 5% this year; a little less than 5% in November.

Yet even before Jeep once again broadens its lineup with the subcompact Renegade, the Cherokee helped power the brand to new heights. The Jeep brand last topped the 500,000 mark in calendar year 1999. Jeep sold 629,074 utility vehicles during the first eleven months of 2014. (Read More…)

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