Jeep Grand Cherokee

Jeep Grand Cherokee

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a series of mid-size SUVs that has been produced by the American company Jeep. When it was first introduced, many SUVs were still being manufactured using body-on-frame construction. However, from its inception, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has utilized a unibody chassis, setting it apart from other vehicles in its category.

The production of the Jeep Grand Cherokee began in 1992 and continues up to the present day. The model years for this particular vehicle range from 1993 to the current year.

When it comes to the body and chassis of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, it was categorized as a mid-size SUV from 1993 until 2010. From 2011 onwards, it has been labelled as a mid-size crossover SUV. The body style of the Grand Cherokee is a 5-door SUV.

The layout of the Grand Cherokee comes in two variants. There is a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive option, and a front-engine, four-wheel-drive option, catering to a variety of driving preferences and needs.


The inception of the Grand Cherokee can be traced back to 1983, when American Motors Corporation (AMC) was contemplating a successor to the smaller Jeep Cherokee (XJ). Three external designers – Larry Shinoda, Alain Clenet, and Giorgetto Giugiaro – were contracted by AMC to create a clay model for the replacement of Cherokee XJ, known then as the “XJC” project. However, the fundamental design for the Cherokee’s successor was already in progress by AMC’s internal designers, and the 1989 Jeep Concept 1 show car hinted at the basic design.

In 1985, as AMC embarked on the development of the next Jeep, the management introduced a business process now recognized as product lifecycle management (PLM). François Castaing, Vice President for Product Engineering and Development, revealed that the smallest U.S. automaker was seeking a method to expedite its product development process to compete more effectively against its larger rivals. The development of the XJC was facilitated by computer-aided design (CAD) software systems, which enhanced the productivity of engineers. Concurrently, new communication systems enabled faster resolution of potential conflicts, thereby reducing expensive engineering changes, as all drawings and documents were housed in a central database. This system proved so effective that Chrysler, after acquiring AMC in 1987, extended it throughout its enterprise, connecting everyone involved in the design and production of products.

Following this, the Grand Cherokee became the first Jeep product under the Chrysler badge. Despite eager anticipation for a late-1980s release date from Chrysler’s employees post the 1987 buyout of AMC, the launch of the Grand Cherokee was postponed until late 1992 due to CEO Lee Iacocca’s push for redesigned Chrysler minivans. Unlike its competitor, the Explorer, the Grand Cherokee employed monocoque (unibody) construction, while the Explorer was a Ranger pickup derivative with a separate body-on-frame. A Dodge-branded version was also designed as a safety measure should Jeep dealers struggle with the volume of Grand Cherokee units.

The Grand Cherokee made its grand debut at the 1992 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. The vehicle showcased was a Poppy Red Clear Coat 1993 Grand Cherokee ZJ Laredo with quartz cloth interior and high-back bucket seats. Robert Lutz, then Chrysler president, drove Detroit mayor, Coleman Young, from the Jefferson North Assembly Plant to Cobo Hall via a police escort, up the steps of Cobo Hall, and through a plate glass window to flaunt the new vehicle. Sales for the 1993 model year Grand Cherokee commenced in April 1992.

Production for the Grand Cherokee began shortly after in the specially constructed Jefferson North Assembly in Detroit, Michigan. European Grand Cherokees were manufactured in Austria by Magna Steyr. The Grand Cherokee played a crucial role in rejuvenating Chrysler’s fortunes by introducing it into the burgeoning market for high-margin sports utility vehicles.

Upon its launch, the Grand Cherokee was the first automobile to be mass-produced in the US using HFC-134a refrigerant instead of HCFC-12 for the HVAC system.

Grand Cherokee A Global Vehicle

The Jeep Grand Cherokee has a long history of robust sales, especially in the United States, Canada and Australia. In the United States, where the vehicle was first launched, sales figures have shown significant fluctuations over the years.

The Grand Cherokee made its debut in 1992, with 128,960 units sold in the United States. Sales increased steadily over the following years, peaking at 300,031 units in 1999. However, the early 2000s saw a slight decline, with sales dropping to 182,313 units in 2004. The numbers rebounded somewhat in 2005, with 213,584 units sold.

However, the late 2000s saw a sharp decline, hitting a low of 50,328 units in 2009, likely due to the global financial crisis. But the Grand Cherokee bounced back impressively, with sales more than doubling to 127,744 units in 2011. The upward trend continued, reaching 195,958 units in 2015 and peaking at 240,696 units in 2017.

In Canada, the Grand Cherokee also enjoyed strong sales, though the numbers were not as high as in the United States. The earliest available data, from 2004, shows 7,454 units sold. Sales peaked in 2016 with 15,091 units.

Australia saw relatively modest sales of the Grand Cherokee, with the highest number of units sold in 2014, at 16,582. Since then, sales have declined, dropping to 2,870 units in 2020.

In Europe, the Grand Cherokee had its best year in 2014, with 13,820 units sold. However, sales have since decreased, reaching just 534 units in 2021.

Overall, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has seen a successful run in terms of sales, with the United States being its strongest market. Despite some fluctuations, the vehicle remains a popular choice among SUV buyers.

There are currently five generations of the Grand Cherokee

  • Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ First Generation
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ/WG Second Generation
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee WK Third Generation
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee WK2 Fourth Generation
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee WL Fifth Generation

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