History of the Jeep Cherokee

History of the Jeep Cherokee

We can't emphasize enough how impressive the history of Jeep really is to the automotive market, to our cultural and political past, and to designing and engineering vehicles that offer the versatility that stands out in a crowd.

That said, with a history that can be argued to reach back over 70 years, it's easy to appreciate and recognize that there's a lot of ground to cover. The Cherokee is a vehicle name that carried through from the 1970s right through to the contemporary heir.

Starting what would prove to be a successful career, the Cherokee was initially intended as a redesign of a two-door body style that had seen promise and public applause in the form of the Jeep Wagoneer line which ran from 1963 until 1967.

Marketed as a sporty Jeep station wagon, Jeep's mark on the automotive industry includes adding the term "Sport Utility" to the public lexicon, appearing first in a 1974 sales brochure describing the vehicle's capabilities and premise.

In its inaugural year, the Cherokee began the first vehicle to receive Four Wheeler Magazine's much sought-after "Achievement Award", an early term that would eventually become the "Four Wheeler of the Year" award.

History of the Jeep Cherokee

This first generation Cherokee offered 4 different engine options over its lifespan, matted with 3-speed manual or 3-speed automatic transmission. It pays to remember that the Jeep brand has seen its share of owners over the years, and in this case the Jeep was produced by American Motors Corporation, a company that would go on to be acquired by Chrysler on March 9th, 1987.

Following the success of the first iteration of the Cherokee brand, American Motors Corporation developed and launched a fully-redesigned and compact SUV model Cherokee known as the XJ in 1984.

The XJ moved away from the body-on-frame chassis and offered a light-weight unibody substitute, a feature that would become the norm for the SUV segment that followed it. Design plans for the XJ can be traced back to a team at American Motors Corporation in 1978. This included clay models and early sketches. During its production life, both 2 door and 4 door models of XJ were offered, though nearly identical save for the longer doors and on the two-door model.

The acclaim received from the XJ went on to spawn a larger model called the ZJ, itself, a precursor to the Jeep Grand Cherokee lineup.With a generous selection of models and accessories, the first generation ran from 1984 for 13 years until 1997 when it was replaced with an updated model.

History of the Jeep Cherokee

This update went on in production until 2001.

For markets beyond the U.S. the Cherokee name would continue, while, domestically, the company shifted their sights and launched the Jeep Liberty as its spiritual successor. These ran the gamut until, in 2013 with a 2014 model year, Jeep re-launched the Cherokee as a mid-size crossover SUV.

This model was the first Jeep vehicle built on the FIAT Compact/Compact U.S. Wide platform, and the first such to be created as a co-development in the newly reformed company. Improving upon nearly all facets that made the original Cherokee vehicles so well-appreciated, the latest model has continued to enjoy applause from veterans to the brand and new-comers as well.

To learn more about the Jeep Cherokee come join us at Marine Chrysler today and let our experts show off a vehicle that has been 70 years in the making!

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