A report in The Wall Street Journal looks at some of the obstacles to the 2014 Jeep Cherokee that go beyond its mootable yet "very contemporary" looks, almost all of them based on Fiat's financial position. Starting with that sheetmetal, in defense of it SRT president Ralph Gilles and Jeep design head Mark Allen said they wanted to "make sure the design still looks modern five years from now."

The WSJ piece doesn't cite longevity as a factor, instead saying that its features originated in a design for an Alfa Romeo, the transformation into a Jeep design meant allowing Chrysler get it to market more quickly and save "hundreds of millions of dollars" in engineering.

The need for Fiat to save money while it weathers the European situation has cut budgets for development, engineering and the pace of retooling the Toledo, Ohio plant to build the Cherokee. In a familiar case of snowballing at work, among the effects will be pushing back the Cherokee's volume sales date and delaying updates to some of Chrysler's other products.

Things will get better when Chrysler can work through its program and get the Cherokee to dealers in bulk – especially if it finds it really can sell 250,000 per year – but the hurdles won't help the financials in the short term.


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  • 115 Comments
      Jonathan Knapman
      • 1 Year Ago
      Oh lord, I still can't get over how awful this design is. The grill is too large, and the chrome surrounds don't help the situation. The is no coherence between the upper lights and the lower lights, only made worse by the fact that the lower lights are bigger (this can work, providing that they follow the same lines i.e. Citroen Technospace), and the air intake at the bottom (again, not helped by chrome surrounds) appears obnoxiously large. Literally all they need to do is make the grill smaller and align the lights, and it would make a world of difference. They still have time before this goes to production, or at least they had time. You'd think one advantage of car manufacturers revealing their vehicles so early would be that they could listen to feedback? But apparently not.
      Chris Bangle
      • 1 Year Ago
      If you haven't seen the back of this "Jeep" it's worse than the front IMO http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-XP55SKK9_Oc/USmPPbsqCXI/AAAAAAAARPk/Q7_mIw7F3qU/s1600/A!.jpg
        Jesus!
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Chris Bangle
        I saw the back it is worse than the front!
        bK
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Chris Bangle
        OMG, kill that thing already!!
      greg
      • 1 Year Ago
      Good if never hits the market we'll be better for it. That is one UGLY thing
      Cruising
      • 1 Year Ago
      That seems logical to utilize a existing Alfa design to save cash although I'm not sure many Jeep faithful will agree with that. Why are they worried about it looking dated? Jeep is a Jeep they look like Jeeps.
      Benny90
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm a bit torn here. At first look I immediately thought it was absolutely hideous. After looking at it a bit, the design is looking a bit better. The "spy" shot of the white Cherokee with the plastic cladding actually makes the front end better in my eyes than the body colored bumper of this one. Final judgment will have to be held off until seeing it in person. There must be a reason they green lighted the design, and I really hope it isn't as ugly in person as it portrays in photos!
      ffforte
      • 1 Year Ago
      Based on the photos, I personally like the design. What looks radical and different dissolves so quickly into run of the mill so quickly, so to go safe from the outset would have meant instant invisibility. In a highly competitive segment of car-based SUV's, resurrecting the priceless Cherokee name was an important way to compete where the potential for large sales volume exists. Interesting to note that the WSJ article mentions that the 9-speed automatic will be used. Competition is good.
      Neez
      • 1 Year Ago
      Jeep really needed a vehicle that competes well with the Rav4, escape, forester, CRV etc... These vehicles sell in exceptionally high volume, so jeep need to tap into that market. This is a big market for people that want and SUV but don't need all the extra size and gas mileage penalty. If it can hit 30+mpg, it'll sell well.
      diffrunt
      • 1 Year Ago
      F ix I t A gain ! T ony !
        Bill Burke
        • 1 Year Ago
        @diffrunt
        Did you think of that all by yourself? Stale and not funny anymore. Most folks know it's not true anymore, not by a hundred foot long meatball hero. Fiat, the company that makes Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Maserati and Ferarri. Yea diff, the same company that makes the much awarded 500. F antastic I talian A automobiles A lways. That's how informed people spell it today.
          lasertekk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Bill Burke
          Differunt, taking a line from one of my favorite scifi shows, you're a frakkin moron.
      MAX
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wall Street Journal= Faux News=hate America The Cherokee was has been well know to be built on a Alfa Romeo platform. The real delays are a new transmission factory, a new engine assemly line and a renovation of the Toledo factory.
        AngeloD
        • 1 Year Ago
        @MAX
        @Max You forgot to add your standard \"it\'s Bush\'s fault\" Faux News, LOL, bet you still \"was has been\" calling him \"Shrub\"
          MAX
          • 1 Year Ago
          @AngeloD
          Faux predicted Romney would win, how did that work out for their less than zero credibility? This Jeep will be wildly successful.
        ugly rims
        • 1 Year Ago
        @MAX
        I was has been still trying to figure out what you typed?
      Jonathan Wayne
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have a sneaky suspicion they will sell a ton of these. I don't necessarily want them to, but I think they will.
      jonnybimmer
      • 1 Year Ago
      "allowing Chrysler get it to market more quickly and save "hundreds of millions of dollars" in engineering" You'd think Chrysler would have learned by now how shortcutting can screw you over in the long run. I can see this being a Fiat creation, and if I were a decision maker in the company I'd be trying to push it to be badged as such (if it still had to be sold as it is). Hell, even calling it the new Compass would have been ok in my opinion, considering the questionable styling the model has had in the past (though admittedly they look decent nowadays). But labeling this as the new Cherokee is just wrong. Maybe I'm too biased towards the original, but whereas the today's Wrangler wins over most Wrangler fans and today's GC wins over most GC fans, this Cherokee not only manages to lose Cherokee and Jeep fans but the general public altogether.
        Street King
        • 1 Year Ago
        @jonnybimmer
        Its not an Alfa design guys, WSJ doesn\'t know anything about cars. This uses a hacked up Alfa derived platform and they somehow got that confused with something else.
      roryn44
      • 1 Year Ago
      This Jeep will sell.
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