An unpleasant situation continues.
If you're in the market for a new Jeep Cherokee then you'll have to make do with what's currently available on dealer lots. Blame the ongoing semiconductor chip shortage crisis, which some industry watchers believe could last through 2023.
Per The Detroit News, Stellantis has confirmed production at its Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois, home of the Cherokee, will be down for the rest of this month. A total of 2,362 hourly employees work there and this isn't the first time they've experienced an assembly line shutdown. Belvidere, which went down to just one shift in July, experienced long periods of downtime throughout the year. However, the chip shortage isn't the sole reason.
The Cherokee compact crossover itself has seen decreased demand as new rivals come into the scene. It's still competitive and was last updated for the 2019 model year, but it's showing its age. Introduced for the 2014 model year, the latest generation model, internally called KL, got off to a rocky start mainly due to transmission calibration issues and polarizing front-end styling.
But the Cherokee still remains a critical part of the off-road brand's lineup. A successor shouldn't too far out and we expect a 4xe plug-in hybrid variant will be offered. The Belvidere plant has suffered pretty significantly since the chip crisis began.
Of all of Stellantis' North American plant, Belvidere has taken the biggest production hit. The latest data indicates that nearly 120,000 units of lost production have been lost so far and counting. It's too soon to know whether the facility will be back online, at least with one shift, next month. Production for the 2022 Cherokee, which should be mostly carried over from the 2021 model, isn't expected to get underway until at least then.
For now, there appears to be a decent supply of new examples for sale, but buyers may not be able to get the exact trim and features package they want. It's by no means the end of the world.