Jeep® Cherokee: 44 years of unique models in the automotive industry
Few names in Jeep® history are more iconic or evoke more emotion than Cherokee. It's a name that represents 44 years of history and almost four million units sold worldwide.
The charming Sicilian scenery, which is currently playing host to the international media launch of the new Jeep® Cherokee, is the ideal location to display the history of this model.
Like all vehicles in the Jeep family, Cherokee was born out of the core values of the brand - passion, authenticity, adventure and freedom. But since the very beginning it has also shown a character of its own and a unique spirit of innovation. This helped the model pioneer the mid-size SUV segment and make it the largest in the world, with more than 12 million sales per year.
Here is the story of its legendary evolution that makes Jeep fans dream in every corner of the world.
First generation (1974 - 1983)
When the first generation of Jeep Cherokee (SJ) was introduced in 1974, its target market was young 4x4 enthusiasts who had grown out of the smaller and less practical CJ-series. Enthusiasts who perhaps had a family, but still wanted to enjoy the outdoors. Jeep designers and engineers created a vehicle for the CJ driver who wanted a larger, enclosed vehicle to take their families on an adventure or just drive to the store. The 1974 Cherokee was based on the Wagoneer, but initially offered only a two-door model.
This two-door sport utility featured the revolutionary Quadra-Trac four-wheel drive system that automatically provided traction by using a unique, controlled-slip third differential that constantly monitors traction to all four wheels.
New for the Cherokee range was the addition in 1977 of a four-door model, which was able to take both the daily commute or a family outing off the beaten track in its stride. Available in base, wide-body, 'S' and Chief configurations, there was a Cherokee for everyone who wanted adventure with comfort and style, including a stylish 1978 'Levi Edition' package that allowed buyers to have cloth seats patterned after the world famous Levi-Strauss denim blue jeans.
By 1980, the Cherokee had forged its reputation as one of the most versatile SUVs on the market. The rugged construction and ample room and comfort for six passengers made it the ideal choice for people making cross-country or cross-town trips in all kinds of weather and road conditions. Some of the standard features included a close ratio fully synchronised four-speed transmission, free-wheeling front hubs and a front anti-roll bar. The Cherokee SJ was produced until 1983 and was replaced by the Cherokee XJ.
Second generation (1984 - 2001)
When first introduced in 1984 the second generation Cherokee, or XJ series, significantly revolutionised the SUV market. A major feature of the XJ was its hybrid of frame and uni-body construction that gave the vehicle superior rigidity and helped to reduce weight and fuel consumption. There was also a new Quadra-Link front suspension to retain the durability of a solid front axle while improving handling and ride, and robotic assembly to improve fit and finish. Half a ton lighter than the old Cherokee, 10 cm lower, 15.2 cm narrower and incredible 53.3 cm shorter, the XJ series had 90% of the old Cherokee's capacity. The Cherokee created the mid-size SUV market segment and was a consistent sales leader in the compact SUV market for 17 years.
With 29.7 cm of ground clearance, a 28.4-degree approach and 31.2-degree departure angle, a choice of two 2WD/4WD drive systems- SelecTrac and shift-on-the-fly CommandTrac - and four doors - Cherokee dominated its market segment for years.
Europe began to receive the XJ Cherokee at the beginning of 1985 - while the right-hand-drive model was introduced into the UK in 1993.
Third generation (2002 - 2007) and fourth generation (2008 - 2013)
The third generation (KJ) replaced the XJ series before itself being superseded by the fourth generation (KK) model. Both generations were sold as the Liberty in North America and the Cherokee in Europe.
The KJ series was available from 2002 to 2007 and was the first Jeep vehicle to use an independent front suspension since the Wagoneer in the 1960s. It was offered in the Limited, Renegade and Sport packages and featured the part-time Select-Trac or full-time Command-Trac four-wheel-drive systems.
Available from 2008 to 2013, the fourth generation Cherokee (KK) was introduced in 2008. During its run, the Cherokee was available in two basic trim levels - Sport and Limited - but to satisfy customer demand there were several different special editions including the Renegade, Latitude, Arctic and 70th Anniversary.
Fifth generation Jeep Cherokee (2014 - today)
The fifth generation Cherokee went on sale in Europe in 2014. The Cherokee KL, as it is known, was the first Jeep vehicle to use the Compact U.S. Wide (CUS-wide) platform, co-developed by Chrysler and Fiat. Available in four trim levels (Sport, Longitude, Limited and the all-new in the Jeep range off-road specialist Trailhawk) the 2014 Cherokee was the first 4x4 vehicle to offer rear-axle disconnect when all-wheel drive is not necessary, the first mid-size SUV to adopt a 9-speed automatic transmission, and the first to feature multiple four-wheel-drive systems, including Active Drive I, Active Drive II and Active Drive Lock for benchmark off-road capability.
The new, refreshed Jeep Cherokee that is now being introduced in Europe, is the most capable vehicle in its category - one that is born to 'Go anywhere' and 'Do anything', offering the highest standards of safety, practicality and capability. It's just as at home with the demands of modern city living as it is with adventures off the beaten track thanks to its functionality and unparalleled 4x4 capability complemented by the latest technology in terms of road handling, comfort, entertainment, safety, convenience and protection.
The new Cherokee boasts a refreshed design that projects the premium personality of the brand yet stays true to iconic Jeep styling. It features a new fascia with LED lights, signature 'waterfall' hood with a new lightweight aluminum structure and a new tailgate for a contemporary and distinctive look.
Inside, there's an array of user-friendly technologies for more comfort, connectivity and occupant protection while superior quality materials and craftsmanship show a real attention to detail.
Thrilling weekend for Abarth drivers competing in rallies in Spain and Italy and a race on the Vallelunga track
After the Rally Princesa de Asturias, Spanish team Alberto Monarri and Rodrigo Sanjuán, in an Abarth 124 rally, are still leading the R-GT and Two-Wheel Drive categories of the Spanish Tarmac Rally Championship.
The winners of the Rally Italia Talent Under 23 competition get behind the wheel of the Abarth 500 R3T in the Rally San Martino di Castrozza and Primiero.
In the Abarth Selenia Trophy, Italian Barberini and Finn Pajuranta win in their Abarth 695 Assetto Corse Evoluzione cars in Vallelunga.
Hat trick by Brit Caldwell in the Italian F4 Championship powered by Abarth.
Speed and spectacle were the defining factors of the rallies in Spain and Italy and on the Vallelunga race track near Rome for the fifth round of the Abarth Selenia Trophy and the sixth round of the Italian F4 Championship powered by Abarth.
In the Rally Princesa de Asturias in Spain, the Abarth 124 rally of Team SMC Junior Motorsport driven by Alberto Monarri and Rodrigo Sanjuàn reasserted its leadership in the Two-Wheel Drive and R-GT categories of the Spanish Tarmac Rally Championships, despite withdrawing after skidding off the road during the last special stage. Until then, the Spanish crew were dominating both categories and are now in sixth place in the overall standing.
In Italy, in the Rally San Martino di Castrozza e Primiero, twenty-two-year-old Marco Parola from Cuneo and nineteen-year-old Nicola Argenta from Belluno, winners of the Rally Italia Talent Under 23, made their racing debut in an Abarth 500 R3T and completed the long and tough course laid out on the mountain roads in the Dolomites.
Abarth Selenia Trophy
In the Abarth Trophy Selenia, it was a draw for Italy and Scandinavia, with the Abarth 695 Assetto Corse Evoluzione of Italian Cosimo Barberini coming first in Race1 and Finn Juuso Pajuranta winning the second heat, in which Barberini was penalised with a drive-through for not having respected the rules when the safety car entered the track.
This allowed Pajuranta to approach leader Barberini in the standings, who now has 193 points, against the 178 of the Finn. Third in the championship is Italian Andrea Mabellini (with 141 points) and fourth is Swedish Robin Appelqvist with 104 points. Among the Abarth 500 Assetto Corse, success of young driver Filippo Larraroni, ahead of Aurora Coria, first of the women.
In the first heat, the poleman Berberini was able to hold the lead but was soon overtaken by Pajuranta in the first lap. The Italian regained the lead of the race in the second lap and, tailed by the Finn, raised the pace scoring lap times slower than those of the qualifiers. The two held the pace until the end, crossing the finish line in that order. Youngster Andrea Mabellini was third ahead of Swede Robin Appelqvist. The fifth place went to "Gioga", first of the gentlemen drivers.
In Race2, Stefano Fiamingo started well in front row, followed by Appelqvist, and Pajuranta who managed to make way for himself and seize third place. The safety car entered the track during the third lap but Barberini noticed this too late and was slapped with a penalty. At the restart, Pajuranta pounced into the lead with Appelqvist, who was eventually overtaken by Mabellini, lagging behind. Barberini finished seventh.
The next round of the Abarth Selenia Trophy is scheduled for Sunday, October 7 in Monza.
Italian F4 Championship powered by Abarth
The sixth round of the Italian series that gives young kart drivers the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a Tatuus single-seater powered by the Abarth T-Jet engine with 160 HP also took place in Vallelunga. Brit Olli Caldwell dominated the day, winning all three races. Runner-ups were Brazilian Gianluca Petecof in the first race, Brazilian driver Enzo Fittipaldi in the second and again Petecof in the third.
With a third place in Race3, Italian Leonardo Lorandi is holding the lead of the general championship standings with 266 points against Fittipaldi's 257 and Caldwell 's 228.
This means that the 2018 championship will be decided in last round which will be held in Mugello on October 28.
Abarth Selenia Trophy
Standings Race1: 1. Cosimo Barberini (ITA) 15 laps in 27'50"940; 2. Juuso Pajuranta (FIN) at 1"282; 3. Andrea Mabellini (ITA) at 7"971; 4. Robin Appelqvist (SWE) at 23"479; 5. "Gioga" (ITA) at 30"642; 6. Michele Monetti (ITA) at 37"244; 7. Luis Miguel Reyes Asmarats (ESP) at 40"547; 8. Stefano Fiamingo (ITA) at 42"029; 9. Biagio Caruso (ITA) at 1'05"835; 10. "Boga" (ITA) at 1'28"593; 11. Filippo Lazzaroni (ITA) 1 lap behind (Abarth 500 Assetto Corse); 12. Aurora Coria (ITA) 1 lap behind (Abarth 500 Assetto Corse). All other drivers in Abarth 695 Assetto Corse Evoluzione cars. Fastest lap: Cosimo Barberini in 1'50"447, average speed 133.149 km/h.
Standings Race2: 1. Juuso Pajuranta 13 laps in 27'34"734; 2. Andrea Mabellini at 3"216; 3. Robin Appelqvist at 7"638; 4. Michele Monetti at 15"565; 5. Stefano Fiamingo at 20"597; 6. "Gioga" at 21"685; 7. Cosimo Barberini at 21"692; 8. Biagio Caruso at 55"744; 9. "Boga" at 1'22"229; 10. Filippo Lazzaroni at 1'26"328 (Abarth 500 Assetto Corse); 11. Aurora Coria 1 lap behind (Abarth 500 Assetto Corse). All other drivers in Abarth 695 Assetto Corse Evoluzione cars.
Fastest lap: Andrea Mabellini 1'50"912, average speed 132.591 km/h.
Abarth Selenia Trophy overall standings: 1. Cosimo Barberini (ITA) 193 points; 2. Juuso Pajuranta (FIN) 178; 3. Andrea Mabellini (ITA) 141; 4. Robin Appelqvist (SWE) 102; 5. Stefano Fiamingo (ITA) 62. General ranking - Italian F4 Championship powered by Abarth: 1. Leonardo Lorandi (ITA) 266 points; 2. Enzo Fittipaldi (BRA) 257; 3. Olli Caldwell (GBR) 228; 4. Petr Ptacech (CZE) 162; 5. Federico Malvestiti (ITA) 159.
Jeep® Experience Tour – Adventure and Urban Spirit Meet in the Most Beautiful Cities of Europe
The event, kicking off tomorrow in Vienna, will visit six European capitals and end on December 2 in Madrid. At every leg, the public will be invited to join in exciting activities to test their driving skills and the capabilities of the most awarded SUV range ever
The Jeep® brand is about to take on Europe with the new Jeep Experience Tour. The event will visit six European cities, inviting the public to experience the two personalities of the iconic brand. The combination of wilderness and urban attitude are perfectly expressed by three newly launched models - the Wrangler, Renegade and Cherokee.
These three models have significantly refreshed the most award-winning range ever and are equipped to satisfy everyday needs and adventures more than ever before.
The Jeep Experience Tour will begin in Vienna on September 20 to 22, and will land in Berlin from October 4 to 6, and Paris from October 19 to 21. The tour will continue to London from November 2 to 4 and Brussels from November 16 to 18, before ending in Madrid on the weekend of November 30 to December 2.
During each stage of the Jeep Experience Tour, the public will be invited to join in exciting activities aimed at testing their driving skills and highlighting the capabilities of the Jeep SUVs by undertaking original and challenging missions.
The Group department dedicated to safeguarding and promoting the historic legacy of FCA's Italian brands will be taking part in the new international event focusing on Alfa Romeo, exhibiting magnificent models that have written glorious chapters in the brand's history
On Saturday 22 September, the Betzholz road safety centre at Hinwil, near Zurich, will stage the largest event dedicated to Alfa enthusiasts of the past and present ever organised in Switzerland. The finest exemplars of the Alfa Romeo brand's current production will be present in force, with the Giulia and Stelvio NRING from the Nürburgring Special Edition, celebrating the records set on the German circuit, and the 4C "Competizione" and "Italia" special series. Visitors will also be able to admire the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team showcar.
Naturally, FCA Heritage, the Group department dedicated to safeguarding and promoting the historic legacy of FCA's Italian brands, which conserves and cares for the historic models in the company's collection, will be there. In Switzerland, it will be exhibiting six precious gems normally conserved at the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo - La macchina del tempo in Arese
: cars that recount the technical excellence the Milan-based constructor achieved during the last century, and embrace almost half a century of history, from 1930 to 1975.
Alfa Romeo GP Tipo B P3 (1932)
The GP Tipo B "P3 also has strong associations with Nuvolari: considered one of the best racing-cars ever built, it was designed by Vittorio Jano specifically for circuit Grand Prix competition. Lightweight and with a straight eight engine, it won its first race, the 1932 Italian Grand Prix, driven by the "Flying Mantovan" himself.
Alfa Romeo GP Tipo 159 Alfetta (1951)
During the years after the 2nd World War, after the thrilling success in 1950, when Giuseppe "Nino" Farina won the World title in the last race, in 1951 Alfa Rome decided to race the Alfetta again. The upgraded version of the model, called the Tipo 159, repeated the World Championship victory, driven this time by Fangio.
Alfa Romeo 1900 Super Sprint (1956)
This elegant coupé with Touring bodywork is the "gran tourism" version of the 1900, the first car to be industrially produced at the Portello plants, which became famous in the 1950s for its advertising slogan: "the family car that wins races".The performance and reliability of the 1900 SS, powered by a 1975 cc twin-cam four-cylinder engine, soon made it one of the favourite cars of gentlemen drivers of the period.
Alfa Romeo 1750 GT Am (1970)
The 1750 GT Am, built in 1970, is another world-famous Alfa Romeo icon. Unlike the model sold in Europe, the 1750 GTV - from which the GT Am (standing for "Gran Turismo America") was born - featured the Spica indirect mechanical injection system, which complied with American emissions standards and was also well suited to racing. With its aggressive looks and 220 HP engine, it achieved great success in the European GT Championship when the car's top driver, the "Flying Dutchman" Toine Hezemans, won the Drivers' Title in 1970. It is driven here by Milan-born driver Ivan Capelli, who won the 1984 Formula 3 European Championship in the Martini MK42 with Alfa Romeo engine.
Alfa Romeo 33 TT 12 (1975)
The 33 TT 12 made its debut on 5 May 1973 at the "Spa-Francorchamps 1000 km", when the World Championship for Makes was experiencing great popularity and attracting large investments from the top constructors. The number "33" had been introduced in 1967 and by that point had become a legend. The letters "TT" stood for "Telaio Tubolare" (tubular chassis, derived from its predecessor the 33 TT3 with 8v engine), while "12" was the number of cylinders of the new three-litre boxer engine capable of delivering in excess of 500 HP and a speed of 330 km/h. At "Passione Alfa Romeo" it will be driven by Arturo Merzario, who won the World Championship for Makes in the TT12 in 1975.
Thrills in Rallies and on the Track during Abarth's Racing Weekend
Abarth 124 rally will star in the European Rally Championship and the single-seaters will shine in ADAC F4 Championship powered by Abarth.
The Italian-Romanian duo Tempestini-Itu will be competing in the 75th Rally Poland, valid for the European Championship, with the Abarth 124 of the Bernini Rally team.
The last round of the ADAC F4 Championship powered by Abarth, will be staged on the Hockenheim circuit in Germany.
In the 75th Rally Poland, Italian driver (with Romanian licence) Simone Tempestini, with Romanian Sergiu Itu, are thinking big and aim at winning in the R-GT category for the European Championship. The race in Poland, now in its 75th edition, is one of the most time-honoured of the championship. It is known to be very long and tough on the dirt and famous for alternating very fast and much slower stretches. It will consist of two legs and a qualifier special stage on Friday, September 21, to establish the starting order.
The first leg will start from Mikolajki at 6:45 a.m. on Saturday 22 and finish at 9:30 p.m., while second leg of the race will start at 6:45 a.m. and finish at 6:20 p.m. on Sunday. The 957 km racing course features 215 km timed, split over 15 special trials.
At the same time, the ADAC F4 Championship powered by Abarth will end on the Hockenheim circuit in Germany with the last round of the German series that sees very young kart drivers proving their mettle behind the wheel of high-performing single-seater Tatuus driven by Abarth T-Jet engines. For German Lirim Zendeli it will be a piece of cake since he conquered the title with one race to go, strong of eight victories in the 17 races of the season. The other podium positions are yet to be decided. Brazilian Enzo Fittipaldi is second with 213 points, against 201 of New Zealander Liam Lawson and 196 of Frederic Vesti from Denmark.
The three races will be streamed live on the
website. The first race will be held at 11:20 am at Saturday, September 22, the second at 5:30 p.m. on the same day and the third at 3:40 on Sunday afternoon.
The Val di Sangro industrial site has passed the milestone of six million vehicles built.
The vehicle that reached the magical figure is a Ducato Natural Power, representing the Fiat Professional natural gas range, the widest on the market.
FCA has been European leader for over 20 years in this minimal environmental impact technology, with more than 754,000 cars and commercial vehicles registered.
The Ducato record reinforces the historic bond between the best-selling Fiat Professional model and Europe's biggest light commercial vehicle production plant.
Vehicle number 6,000,000 left the production lines of Sevel (Società Europea Veicoli Leggeri) today. It is a Ducato Natural Power (medium wheelbase and high roof) with aluminium grey livery and equipped with the low environmental impact 140 Natural Power engine running on natural gas, which delivers power of 136 HP and peak torque of 350Nm, capable of performances similar in all respects to those of a diesel engine and with a range, on natural gas, of 400 km.
Purchased by an Italian customer as a people carrier, the record-breaking vehicle reflects not only the solid bond between the best-selling Fiat Professional model and the plant at Sevel di Atessa, in Val di Sangro, Europe's largest light commercial vehicle factory, but also FCA's undisputed leadership in the sale of petrol/natural gas dual fuel vehicles, with more than 754,000 car and commercial vehicle registrations Europe-wide in over 20 years. The Fiat Professional range comprises four models: Fiorino, Doblò Cargo, Ducato Van, Minibus or Panorama and Panda Van.
With such a complete range, the Ducato Natural Power is the ideal solution for any professional solutions, its versatility proved by its Van (available in 3 lengths, 3 heights and Maxi version) and Chassis Cab (3 lengths and Maxi version) configurations. All variants of the Fiat Professional best seller share the 3 litre engine, with Euro6 type approval, which delivers a power of 136 HP at 3500 rpm and a maximum torque of 350 Nm at 1,500 rpm. Thus equipped, the Ducato Natural Power has a top speed of up to 159 km/h and is very sparing on fuel (8.6 kg/100 km of natural gas). What's more, thanks to its absence of fine particle emissions and low pollutant emissions, depending on city-specific regulations the Ducato Natural Power is granted access to "limited traffic zones" created for environmental reasons.
Developed specifically to operate on natural gas, the engine has a large number of special components to guarantee unbeatable durability, reliability and efficiency. In particular, Ducato Natural Power is configured to operate normally on natural gas - petrol only cuts in automatically when the natural gas is running out - stored in the five cylinders with total capacity of 220 litres, equivalent to 36 kg, which provide a range of 400 km. What's more, the cylinders are located underneath the floor of the van, maintaining all the cargo section volume: a very important feature for a vehicle intended for professional use.
With the added bonus that natural gas is the cleanest fuel available today. For example, compared to petrol, natural gas reduces CO2 emissions by 23%. Natural gas engines minimise the most harmful emissions, such as fine particles, nitrogen oxides and the most reactive hydrocarbons, which lead to the formation of other pollutants. Methane powered vehicles can circulate in various cities with "restricted traffic zones" for environmental reasons, park in underground car parks and on ferries.
The Ducato Natural Power confirms FCA's constant attention to environmental issues through the research and development of tangible solutions for improving performance and reducing consumption, combined with ecological and economic sustainability. Moreover, OEM vehicles, that is original equipment vehicles which are assembled in the factory already with modifications to the chassis made according to dedicated technology, are subjected to crash and emission tests just like conventional vehicles and can boast the highest standards of comfort and safety.
Thirty-seven years of success
Thirty-seven years ago, Ducato revolutionised the light commercial vehicle segment and the revolution is still underway. The current, sixth generation has the highest payload in the segment up to 3.5 tons. The model's many strengths include the powerful and efficient engines, the numerous safety and driving assist systems and the many bodywork variants designed for outfits of every kind. Ducato therefore retains a high residual value and this, combined with low running costs and spare part prices, gives the Fiat Professional best-seller some of the lowest maintenance and repair costs in its category, a vital contribution towards improving the "Total Cost of Ownership", essential for improving the business of customers of all kinds. In fact, Ducato can be configured to measure for any use required, since it has the largest range of front-wheel drive vehicles in the market: through combinations of the various body, engine and mechanics solutions, the brand offers approximately 10,000 variants for commercial vehicles, people carriers and conversion bases. The Ducato is available in 4 length variants and 3 height versions for vans, and in 6 length variants for the chassis cabs and chassis cowls. Specifically, the van range offers a choice of eight different capacities ranging from 8 to 17 m³, giving it the best efficiency in this category in terms of load volume.
The record-breaking plant
Ducato is made in the Sevel Plant in Atessa, Val di Sangro, Italy, the largest light commercial vehicle plant in Europe. A little over six hundred people were employed in the Sevel Plant in 1981 and seventy vehicles were made a day. Today, about 1200 vehicles in an amazing array of different configurations roll off the lines every day. The plant is one of the most flexibility in the world in terms of level of specialisation and organisation of work performance. Furthermore, it has earned a Silver medal in the World Class Manufacturing programme which involves over 160 FCA plants in addition to suppliers and multinationals. The Silver medal certifies that high efficiency, organisation, involvement and quality standards are implemented. The plant employs roughly 6,400 people, which reach 12,500 counting the suppliers operating in the district. The average age is about 45 and women make up over 21 per cent of the entire workforce. The plant hosts the Academy, a centre of excellence where resources are trained and employees are continuously updated. Specifically, the "Academy" is the place where people come together to improve their training and their leadership skills, as well as to undertake simulations and create innovation; here they can also learn about state-of-the-art future technologies involving the business in different areas such as quality, ergonomics and management of complexity, workrate.