By Drew Johnson
Monday, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 12:48 pm
 

One of Jeep's most storied nameplates is set to return to the United States early next year. Jeep will bring back the Cherokee name at the 2013 New York auto show, followed by the revival of the Grand Wagoneer in either 2014 or 2015.

Rumored for the last several months, the Detroit Free Press says that Jeep will officially unveil a new Cherokee model at the New York auto show next spring. The Cherokee will replace the aging Liberty in the Jeep lineup.

Originally introduced in the U.S. in 1974, the Cherokee nameplate soldiered on until 2001 when it was replaced by the Liberty. The boxy 1984-2001 Cherokee enjoyed a loyal following, hitting a sales peak of 165,000 units in 1999. The Liberty hasn't been met with the same market enthusiasm, with sales of the SUV standing at just 72,000 units - an increase of 19 percent - so far this year.

Chrysler has yet to confirm that the Cherokee nameplate is coming back, referring to its all-new utility vehicle as simply the "Liberty replacement." However, Jeep CEO Mike Manley has dropped some strong hints.

"It certainly is a very, very well-known name. People who had Cherokees remember them incredibly fondly," Manley said. "It has huge name recognition and a big following."

Jeep has already confirmed that it is bringing back the Grand Wagoneer - which was sold from 1962 to 1991 - in either late 2014 of early 2015 as an up-scale, three-row SUV.

"Grand Wagoneer represents an opportunity for Jeep to truly get back to that bigger premium SUV segment," Manley said. "People eagerly are awaiting it. We're making sure we are doing the right vehicle for the brand and the company."

Jeep's upcoming products promise to keep the brand's momentum rolling. Jeep's U.S. sales have increased 16 percent to 434,260 units this year, with the brand on pace to break its global sales record of 670,000 vehicles set in 1999.