5 Millionth Jeep Grand Cherokee Rolls Off Line

The milestone SUV will be donated to the USO and used to transport returning military home to their families, highlighting a partnership featured in the brand’s Super Bowl advertising this year.

Aaron Foley, Associate Editor

August 13, 2013

2 Min Read
Jefferson North employs 4500 workers on three shifts
Jefferson North employs 4,500 workers on three shifts.

DETROIT – Chrysler celebrates production of its 5 millionth Jeep Grand Cherokee, the latest milestone for the resurgent auto maker on the brink of collapse only a few years ago.

Echoes of the auto maker’s 2009 bankruptcy ring again here, as the city where the Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs are produced is going through its own bankruptcy.

“I remember four years ago, as we were starting to get this vehicle launched, all the pundits and the critics,” Scott Garberding, senior vice president-manufacturing, tells plant workers. “Yet, somehow we were able to launch this beautiful vehicle and we were able to begin Chrysler’s turnaround.

“I read now about the city of Detroit and all of its economic difficulties, and the criticism that comes from many directions, and you think about all of those experiences and the things that have happened and the things that are currently happening, and you can kind of feel sometimes that we’re just running into the wind – no matter what we do, there’s another challenge in front of us.”

When Jefferson North was built in 1989 and began producing the Grand Cherokee in 1992, there were 1,600 employees on two shifts. Today, the plant runs three shifts and 120 hours of weekly production with 4,500 employees.

“It underlines the fact Jeep is committed to continuing to build the best quality SUVs in America,” Jim Morrison, director-product marketing, tells WardsAuto. “The guys here at Jefferson North are working weekends, working overtime trying to build more to keep up with that strong demand.”

The plant also assembled the defunct Jeep Commander from 2005-2010 and began Durango production in 2010.

The 5 millionth Grand Cherokee was donated to the United Service Organizations and will be used to transport returning military home to their families. Jeep’s partnership with the USO was featured in the brand’s Super Bowl advertising this year.

Grand Cherokee U.S. sales this year total 95,815 units through July, a 10.5% gain over like-2012 that is outpacing the market overall. Durango sales soared 38.3% to 33,440 through the year’s first seven months.

Chrysler also recently celebrated 1 million units of the current-generation Wrangler.

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About the Author(s)

Aaron Foley

Associate Editor, WardsAuto

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