Jeep reaffirms Cherokee will be replaced, but with what?
Speculation has already started that the replacement could potentially be a Jeep badged version of the Alfa Romeo Tonale similar to the Dodge Hornet.
KL Cherokee officially exited production at the end of February. Image: Jeep.
Stellantis has reaffirmed comments made last year that it will be introducing a replacement for the discontinued Jeep Cherokee at some stage in the future.
The assurance by an unnamed Jeep spokesperson comes on the back of the brand announcing last week that the Belvidere Plant in Illinois had produced the final Cherokee on 28 February, and that negotiations are currently take place with the United Auto Workers (UAW) about the future of the plant that went into service 58 years ago.
Responsible for the now phased-out KL Cherokee since 2017, five years after production moved from the Toledo Plant in Ohio that produces the Wrangler and the Gladiator, the uncertainty surrounding the plant has attracted the ire not only of the UAW, but also the 1 300 employees laid-off as a result of the factory now standing idle.
Despite the mentioned spokesperson not disclosing any further details to Road and Track about the Cherokee’s successor, suspicion has already started that Jeep could follow the same route as sister brand Dodge, whose still new Hornet is nothing but a revised and rebadged Alfa Romeo Tonale.
As it stands though, this is purely speculative and while Jeep is unlikely to let go of the Cherokee name, it remains to be seen how it will plug the gap between the Compass and the five-seat Cherokee.
Recon to the rescue?
One option is the concept all-electric Recon that bowed alongside the Avenger and Wagoneer S last year as a retro-styled Wrangler inspired off-roader resplendent with a boxy design Jeep billed as being capable of making it through the Rubicon Trail.
In addition to its design, the Recon’s off-road focus draws parallels with that of the Cherokee XJ that became an institution at the onset of the SUV-craze in North America in the early 1980s, and which today remains an inexpensive and trusted SUV in spite of production having ended in 2001.
While it remains to be seen whether the Tonale does indeed play a role in Jeep’s portfolio as the Stelvio does by virtue of providing the underpinnings for the Grand Cherokee and long wheelbase Grand Cherokee L, the Recon has been confirmed for production, but only from 2024.
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