After nearly five decades of production, Jeep is saying farewell to one of its most name-worthy models, the Jeep Cherokee. This four-door, five passenger midsize crossover started its journey as a body-on-frame SUV back in 1984. Shortly after, it evolved into the iconic, boxy XJ generation that auto enthusiasts continue to hold in high esteem.
While the XJ edition faded state-side in 2001, the model continued to flourish across the pond until 2014. That’s when Jeep officially reintroduced us to its modern U.S. counterpart. Often revered as the “little sister” to the widely popular Grand Cherokee, the Cherokee model made its return to American soil at a truly opportune time.
As consumers were looking to ditch the traditional sedan and expense of tricked-out SUVs, models like the Cherokee were quick to fill a growing need within the market. Now after almost a decade of mid-size mass-production, we’re starting to see a shift in what automakers deem a practical decision in manufacturing.
The recent idling of Jeep Cherokees speaks volumes for where the automotive industry is heading. One thing for certain, production will be a whole lot more efficient, especially under the direction of Stellantis (the powerhouse automaker behind Jeep’s next generation).
Low sales prompt a bleak future for the Jeep Cherokee
Very few details have been released about Jeep’s decision to halt production in 2023, however, here’s a brief review of what we’ve gathered thus far:
On March 1st, 2023, Jeep officially discontinued production of the Cherokee model at its Belvedere Assembly Plant in Illinois. While some auto experts have attributed this sudden car death to the jam-packed marketplace it resides in, others blame the pricing and comparable models competing on its own lineup. Jeep has over six standard SUV models to choose from, apart from a variety of speciality trim upgrades like the 4×4 model. On top of that, the pricing averages tend to fall much higher than other mid-size SUVs available.
In some ways, the demise of the Jeep Cherokee was inevitable. While this model certainly sparked the interests of consumers, especially those who couldn’t afford the Grand Cherokee, in the early years, it hasn’t evolved much. Or rather, barely at all. With the current market gravitating towards tech-driven and modern builds, the Cherokee shape and interior remained stuck in the past.
Because this news is relatively fresh, we look forward to hearing more from Stellantis on their future plans for the Cherokee model. Until then, we know for certain that fan-favorite SUVs like the Grand Cherokee and recently introduced Wagoneer are set to stay. The question is: Will the Cherokee get a total revamp or find its final resting place in the automotive graveyard? Time will tell!
What are your thoughts on discontinuation of the Jeep Cherokee? Sad to see it go? Or ready for something new?