Followup: What’s really going on with the 2014 Jeep Cherokee’s transmission issues?

Filed under: SUV, Plants/Manufacturing, Technology, Crossover, Jeep, Off-Road

On September 23, Automotive News reported that Chrysler had idled the second shift workers it hired just five weeks prior at its Toledo Assembly Complex to build the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. At the time, Chrysler said it had “built the critical number of vehicles we need to stock dealerships once containment is released” and did not want “to put additional strain on our logistics partners … upon release.” That reasoning was not only unusual, it didn’t seem to make sense.

It appears the center of the nine-speed issue is software, not hardware.

That same day, the Detroit News ran a piece claiming workers at the Toledo factory said the halt was due to issues with the Cherokee’s transmission. It put the number of already-built Cherokees needing fixes at 1,000 and said that some of the workers not laid off had been instructed “to take the Jeep on long test-drives.” That made more sense. Three days later, on September 26, Automotive News reported that the 500 workers laid off had been reinstated, with engineers “speeding repairs on the SUV’s powertrain software.” The AN piece didn’t put a number on how many units are being fixed, but it did say that 12,000 have been built and are awaiting delivery to dealers. The best it could say about when dealers will get them, however, is that “progress on a fix is being made. It’s unclear when shipments to dealers will start.”

It appears the center of the issue is software, not hardware – the program that controls how the engine communicates with both the ZF nine-speed transmission built by Chrysler in Kokomo, IN, and the unique disconnecting driveshaft engineered by American Axle & Manufacturing. Getting the driveline to run just like the company wants in every situation is what has led to three delays already this year, and a fourth delay is certain to come when the vehicles aren’t delivered as promised at the end of the third quarter, which is Monday. (Scroll down to read more)

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What’s really going on with the 2014 Jeep Cherokee’s transmission issues? originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 27 Sep 2013 15:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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