Chrysler Restarts Second Shift At Toledo, Says It Has New Cherokee's Drivetrain Software Patched

TTAC Staff
by TTAC Staff
chrysler restarts second shift at toledo says it has new cherokee s drivetrain

Chrysler announced Thursday that it will restart the second shift of workers assembling the all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee at the Toledo Assembly Complex next Monday after a week of downtime spent upgrading the software for the SUV’s powertrain. Chrysler had idled the 500 workers, it said, because it had built a sufficient number of vehicles to launch and that it didn’t want to overwhelm delivery logistics, but it was clear from the fact that none of the built Cherokees were being shipped and that some of the idled workers were conducting lengthy test drives that quality control was a factor in the shutdown. Chrysler software and drivetrain engineers have been working on patches to the engine and transmission mapping software and the company says that it has made progress on the upgrade.

“As we continue to refine the vehicle’s powertrain software, we are implementing a plan that will allow us to make the required updates more quickly than anticipated, thereby making additional layoffs unnecessary at this time,” Chrysler spokeswoman Jodi Tinson said in a statement.

Chrysler has been holding back over 12,000 finished Cherokees before shipping them to dealers. That’s more than $300 million worth of Jeeps at retail prices.

Automotive News had reported that the software at issue regulates how the ZF designed and Chrysler built nine-speed automatic transmission interacts with the Cherokee’s innovative free-wheeling driveshaft and rear differential which is supposed to save fuel. Chrysler confirmed the issue in its statement on Thursday.

“This is the world’s first application of a highly technical nine-speed transmission; on top of that, it is being mated to two new engines and three complex 4×4 systems. As our senior management has stated many times before, we will only introduce a vehicle to consumers when we are completely satisfied,” the statement said.

The engines are Chrysler designs, the transmission was licensed from ZF and the trick disconnecting driveshaft is made by American Axle, and Chrysler had to develop software to integrate the components and control shifting patterns and four-wheel drive implementation for each of the drivetrain combinations.

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  • Readallover Readallover on Sep 27, 2013

    I don`t understand why they would stop producing the trucks in the first place. If it is a software problem, would you not just reflash them when you discover the fix?

    • See 1 previous
    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Sep 27, 2013

      @Kinosh Well, they DID say they have 12,000 of 'em waiting for upgrades. If it weren't football season, a single stadium lot should hold them all. OTOH, the traditional storage is dealer lots, with dealers selling them and then scheduling the upgrades in a recall and having dealers' grease monkeys do the upgrades. The emphasis on PR is killing tradition!

  • Zackman Zackman on Sep 27, 2013

    Ahhh... makes one pine for the days of yearly tune-ups. Re-gapping plugs, adjusting dwell, etc. NO WAY! I love computerized cars, for they have never been more reliable and economical. Besides, I don't work on them anymore, and I'm happy about that! I just keep them cleaned and well-maintained. This gives me confidence in Chrysler I haven't had since Iacocca's reign. Seems they are trying to do it right. It's one thing to function in a lab under controlled conditions, but beta-testing in the real world is a different animal. I wish them the best with this launch!

    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Sep 27, 2013

      I'm with you, Zackman. No more busted knuckles. Besides, I can't even find the engine anymore, there's just this big plastic thing in the engine bay.

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂