Jeep Kills Cherokee, Breaks Nearly 50-Year Production Run
The Jeep Cherokee is officially dead, a company spokesperson confirmed to The Drive on Thursday.
The Cherokee had been in production for 49 straight years, first as a body-on-frame SUV before evolving into the unibody XJ generation we all know and love. Built between 1984 and 2001, it was an incredible hit for the brand, so much so that values have skyrocketed as collectors attempt to cash in on the retro design and nostalgia factor.
Jeep stopped selling XJ in America in 2001, though the model lived on through licensed production in China, which continued all the way up until 2014. That same year, Jeep reintroduced the Cherokee name back into its North American lineup with a midsize crossover, where it sat languishing in the company's lineup until now.
After 10 years on the market, Jeep reportedly idled the Cherokee's plant indefinitely on March 1. As The Drive points out, the length of the plant's freeze is dependent on how Stellantis's negotiations with the United Auto Workers union pan out.
The name "Cherokee" is far from dead in Jeep-speak, of course. The company still sells the Grand Cherokee, which is expected to stick around for a while, as it was just given an overhaul in 2022. A Jeep spokesperson confirmed to Road & Track it will replace the Cherokee with a new midsize crossover, though they didn't go as far as to say it would carry on the Cherokee name. Currently, the new Alfa Romeo-based Hornet seems to fill that spot in Stellantis's corporate lineup nicely.
This article, originally published March 23, has been updated with additional details from Jeep.
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