Blaming the global shortage of semiconductors and related supply chain challenges, Stellantis has announced another round of cuts at one of its factories. According to a report in the Detroit News, about 400 workers have been informed of an ‘employee reduction’ that will take effect early next calendar year.
Before I became an automotive journalist, I wanted to write about sports. And one of the first things I learned from more-experienced sportswriters while I was in journalism school is that writing about a .500 team sucks unless there are colorful personalities on the roster.
This is because it’s generally more interesting to write about really good or really bad teams. I am sure there are exceptions, but generally speaking, mediocre teams were more challenging to cover.
In a decade-plus of writing about cars, I’ve discovered this applies to vehicles, as well.
Jeep is laying off 150 workers that would have otherwise been employed at its Belvidere Assembly Plant, which actually produces the Jeep Cherokee instead of the long defunct, full-size Plymouth. Based on the timing, this decision appears to have something to do with the FCA-PSA Group merger that formed Stellantis.
The Cherokee Nation has requested that Jeep change the name of some of its vehicles. While you can probably guess which ones are causing offense, it should be stated that the automaker has been utilizing the Cherokee name to evoke a sense of power and natural harmony for over 45 years. But nobody is going to argue that native peoples have a decided advantage in who has first dibs on the title, especially in a time of unprecedented tensions regarding what’s deemed racially insensitive.
Chuck Hoskin, Jr., principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, certainly seems to think Jeep crossed a line. This is actually the first time the group has ever asked Jeep to change a vehicle’s name, though Jeep has also gone on record numerous times to defend its use.
Today’s Rare Ride comes from a time when Jeep still offered a two-door pickup to the American small truck consumer.
Super clean, pretty retro, and with great tape stripes, it’s the Jeep Comanche Pioneer. A fitting example of the first-ever Jeep featured in this series!
Eighty years of anything is a lot, with life and marriage – and the occasional fruitcake – being heartily celebrated if they ever make it that far. There have been a few car brands to mark this milestone as well; Jeep is the latest to join the club.
Rather than rent the local banquet hall for a party, however, they’ve decided to do what carmakers tend to do best in times like these: Roll out a few special editions.
Look up the Jeep Cherokee on the brand’s consumer website and you’ll see a lot of trims, but there’s also one you won’t see: Overland. Topping the Cherokee trim ladder, Overland is a well-appointed but under-advertised ride, meaning it’s one you don’t see much of plying local streets or sitting patiently outside the grocery store.
And for 2021, you won’t see it at all.
Before most of us were aware of the existence of coronavirus, Fiat Chrysler was idling its Jeep Cherokee plant to align production with falling sales. It certainly wasn’t the first time in recent memory. As the model grew in age, sales fell — to the tune of 20 percent in 2019.
Cherokee production, like that of all other vehicles assembled in the United States, is now offline, but there’ll be a proposition awaiting Jeep buyers when things return to normal (or whatever passes for normal in the months ahead).
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.
Jeep loves to brag about how capable its SUVs are off-road, and the brand can back it up. But considering that most folks who purchase SUVs use them only on-road, does rock-crawling ability outweigh on-road performance?
For most buyers, I suspect the answer is no. That could be a bit of a problem for the refreshed 2019 Jeep Cherokee.
When the last Cherokee showed up in 2014, its front fascia was comprised of an alarming set of headlights set deep into a scowling bumper, paired with toenail-clipping DRLs at the leading edge of its hood. It was distinctive, to be kind.
This year at Detroit, a refreshed Cherokee took the FCA stage, sporting a handsome new mug that apes the corporate face. With detailed pricing recently released, there’s no better time to see if Jeep’s trucklet can pass the Ace of Base test.
Hot on the heels of a vehicle reveal most of us thought would occur in Detroit next month, another hot seller has officially broken cover before the January show.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has given the Jeep Cherokee a snazzy new set of duds just in time for the new year. Previously styled with an alarming mix of narrowed lights and Hannibal Lecter grille, the restyled 2019 Cherokee adopts the corporate look that first appeared on the Grandest of Cherokees before migrating to the Compass last year.