The dialogue between the automaker and the Cherokee Nation continues.
Jeep has been using the Cherokee nameplate for over 45 years and now we could be seeing the first sign of its retirement. Last month, the Cherokee Nation went on record again asking the off-road brand's parent company, Stellantis, to drop the name. This comes after professional sports teams, specifically the Cleveland Indians and Washington Redskins, agreed to name changes. Cleveland's baseball team has been around a lot longer than the SUVs, so if they can adapt to the times, why can't Jeep? It's a fair question.
Only a few days ago the automaker made clear it had no intention of changing the names of the Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee but maintained it wants to keep an open dialogue with the Cherokee Nation and its leadership.
But now it might be rethinking things. The Wall Street Journal reports Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares is open to dropping the Cherokee name following the recent criticism from tribal leader Chuck Hoskin, Jr. "We are ready to go to any point, up to the point where we decide with the appropriate people and with no intermediaries," Tavares told the publication. "At this stage, I don't know if there is a real problem. But if there is one, well, of course, we will solve it."
For the time being, Tavares is not ordering any name change, as he views the use of the Cherokee nameplate as a way of "expressing our creative passion, our artistic capabilities."
We're pretty sure the Cherokee Nation respectfully disagrees with that. It's also important to remember there is precedent for Jeep dropping the Cherokee name. The Jeep Liberty debuted in 2002 as a successor to the long-running XJ Cherokee. Of course, the Cherokee returned in 2013 when the current generation model premiered at that year's Detroit Auto Show.
The Wrangler, Gladiator, Renegade, and upcoming Grand Wagoneer are not deemed offensive names by some, though the Gladiator's Mojave trim might be on borrowed time. Aside from promoting an off-road adventure lifestyle, Jeep promotes America itself. Names like 'Liberty' and 'Patriot' have been used on past vehicles without controversy.