Sales Dip Idles Jeep Cherokee Plant

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
sales dip idles jeep cherokee plant

While Jeep may be a big money maker for Fiat Chrysler, the rugged off-road brand’s products aren’t all doing fabulously. A downturn in consumer enthusiasm has left the automaker with too many Cherokees in its inventory, so something has to give.

Belvidere Assembly goes dark for two weeks this month.

As reported by Automotive News, the temporary shutdown begins on Monday, with the Illinois plant coming back online January 27th. The publication claims FCA began the year with a 97-day supply of Cherokees, up from a 91-day supply a month earlier. Time to pair production with (reduced) demand.

Normal inventory for a car model is around 60 to 70 day’s worth, though this year has seen the industry average climb higher.

FCA’s aging Belvidere facility, which once cranked out such nameplates as the Dodge Omni and Dynasty, builds its sole model on two shifts. Unfortunately for the roughly 4,000 workers at Belvidere, Cherokee sales shifted into reverse in 2019, falling 20 percent for the year. The fourth quarter of 2019 saw the model’s volume fall 30 percent compared to the same period a year earlier.

The current-generation Cherokee, bowing at the tail end of 2017, hit a sales peak in 2018 after suffering two years of declines. Overall, the Jeep brand closed out 2019 with a volume loss of 5 percent.

Looking forward, the Cherokee could see a next-generation model arrive sometime in 2021.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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9 of 19 comments
  • Vulpine Vulpine on Jan 10, 2020

    Considering how little the Cherokee has changed in the last several years and how much like it the new Compass looks, I'm not at all surprised. In fact, with the possible exception of the Compass and the Wrangler, pretty much the entire lineup of Jeep's CUVs are due for a stylistic refresh that would be more Jeep-like than generic.

    • ToddAtlasF1 ToddAtlasF1 on Jan 10, 2020

      True. Unless you can see the row of urinals or a scale, this could be any CUV.

  • Thornmark Thornmark on Jan 11, 2020

    maybe they could slow the line and build them better - JEEP quality has been declining for years and this should have been an opportunity to make them better

    • See 2 previous
    • Steve203 Steve203 on Jan 11, 2020

      @Vulpine "The vast majority of Jeep/Chrysler issues since then have been electronic." Chrysler has a history of electrical problems going back at least to the 60s. Remember the ballast resistor issues? Didn't hear about that one from Ford or GM, but experienced Mopar owners kept a spare resister in the glove box. In my dad's 69 Fury, the gas and temp gauges would swing back and forth in unison. Periodically, the Fury's battery would go dead without any warning. Of course, Fiat has it's own tradition of crappy Marelli electrics.

  • Digitaldoc Digitaldoc on Jan 12, 2020

    Great news! The slowdown should give them some time to get all 9 gears working on their automatic transmission.

    • Vulpine Vulpine on Jan 12, 2020

      All 9 gears work just fine, doc. At least in my Renegade they do.

  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Jan 14, 2020

    "TMMK specializes in hybrids and currently produces the Toyota Camry, Toyota Avalon, Lexus ES 350, and each of those models’ hybrid variants. It’s Toyota’s largest manufacturing plant, costing over $7 billion thus far and hosting over 8,000 employees." Matt, is it the largest in the world (larger than Toyota City in Japan), or just the largest in North America, or the US?