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Jeep finally ready to deliver Cherokee to dealers

by Andrew Ganz

Jeep\'s new crossover is almost ready for showrooms.

After a several month delay, the Jeep Cherokee will soon be arriving in dealerships across the United States.

Automotive News reports that Cherokees are within 10 days from being released to dealers now that Jeep engineers have worked out kinks between the vehicle's transmission and driveline.

The Cherokee is the first Chrysler product to feature German supplier ZF's new nine-speed automatic gearbox. The hurdles of matching a new gearbox to existing engines in a unique platform was magnified by Chrysler's desire to use a disconnecting axle system to save fuel.

In order to fulfill supplier and plant obligations, Jeep has already made thousands of Cherokees. Stashed in lots and fields near Toledo, many of the Cherokees are already on car haulers waiting for their marching orders.

Uniquely, Jeep is testing many of the Cherokees on a high speed course owned by Toledo-based supplier Dana Corp. Automotive News reports that they are driven "a handful at a time, for two high speed laps" around Dana's 1.75-mile oval track.

Not all Cherokees tested are ready to go to dealers immediately; the industry journal says that some require additional tuning to fix.

The tweaks made to the gearbox require a software flash, which means that the Cherokes that have already been built can be updated to the proper transmission setup.

The Toledo, Ohio-built crossover will fill a void in showrooms left by the departure of the Jeep Liberty, which went out of production more than a year ago.

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