By Nat Shirley
Thursday, May 16th, 2013 @ 5:11 pm
 
Chrysler says that it is delaying production of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee by about a month as it works to sort out a variety of pre-launch issues related to the controversially-styled crossover.
Originally slated to commence in the third week of May, assembly of the new Cherokee will now begin in mid-June, Chrysler senior vice president of engineering Mark Chernoby told the Detroit Free Press.

"Right now, we are at a point where we have dozens of open issues. It is less than 100," Chernoby said. "But this is kind of the normal nose cone of the launch process."

Chrysler engineers are reportedly still working to perfect the calibrations of the Cherokee's industry-first nine-speed transmission, and efficiency-related changes at the Toledo plant where the crossover will be built are also contributing to the later-than-expected production start.

In spite of the delay, dealers should still have a normal inventory of Cherokees by mid-fall, Chrysler says.

Each of the Detroit Three have been placing an increased emphasis on quality control measures late in the development process in order to ensure smooth new product launches. General Motors recently pushed back the introduction of its next-generation full-size SUVs so that it could focus on eliminating any potential quality gremlins, and Ford has committed to rethinking its launch process following the problem-plagued debuts of the Escape crossover and Lincoln MKZ sedan.