Chrysler Group LLC (FIATY.OTC) is expecting big things from its 2014 Jeep Cherokee and will ramp up production output at its Toledo, Ohio, plant, company officials said, according to MLive. The newly designed compact SUV, which replaces the Jeep Liberty in Chrysler’s product line, goes on sale later this summer.
Management at the Toledo Assembly Complex expects to be producing the 2014 Cherokee at full capacity by September — some 500 models per nine-hour shift. To pull off this ambitious pace, the plant will add a second production shift for the Cherokee, plant manager Zachary Leroux said.
“We’re expecting this vehicle to sell,” Leroux told reporters Thursday at the Toledo complex. “I think that’s going to keep us busy for a long period of time.” By early August, the plant should be producing the Cherokee at full volume for a single shift. Training for the second shift is beginning now.
Chrysler has enjoyed success with this Jeep, which has been outsold only by Ram pickups in the company’s product roster.
Though the Ram trucks have been a huge winner for Chrysler and Fiat, Ford Motor Co.’s (NYSE:F) F-150 has been the star of the U.S. market, outpacing every vehicle among American buyers and hammering both General Motors Co.’s (NYSE:GM) Chevy Silverado and the lineup from Chrysler.
GM is not sitting pat in the pickup division whatsoever, as the company is bringing a new GMC Sierra to the table to go along with the 2014 Chevy Silverado. The 2013 Silverado sat in second place for U.S. auto sales in June, while the 2014 model has yet to emerge. Considered the workhorse of the group — the GMC Sierra would be the more stylish, pricier sibling — the 2014 Silverado is expected to eat into the F-150′s dominance in the segment.
Chrysler’s new entry in the compact SUV market should challenge two top-10 sellers in the segment, the Ford Escape and the Honda (NYSE:HMC) CR-V. By September, Chrysler should have its Cherokee meeting even the highest level of demand.