One of the most iconic SUVs ever to exist is officially gone, according to Jeep officials.
Even if you aren’t a huge car buff or know a great deal about all the brands and models on sale today, you certainly know the Jeep Cherokee. It originally went into production as a Wagoneer variant all the way back in 1974, before helping launch what we know today as the SUV with the XJ’s arrival in 1984 (as one of AMC’s last launches before folding into Chrysler in 1990). Now, it’s all over, as The Drive reports.
Honestly, the future of the Jeep Cherokee has been on shaky ground for a little while now. After building 3 million examples of the XJ between 1984 and 2001, FCA reintroduced the Cherokee for the KL generation in 2014. However, the company decided to shutter the Belvidere Assembly Plant where it was built late last year, and the final KL rolled off the assembly line on February 28.
While the latest-generation Cherokee faced much fiercer competition than its predecessor, it had been a decent seller for the brand over the past several years. It sold just 40,322 units last year (the more expensive Grand Cherokee, by comparison, outsold it by 5-to-1), perhaps owing to the fact that it didn’t see any updates in the past decade other than a facelift in 2019.
Nevertheless, the Jeep Cherokee still bows out with a reputation as one of Jeep’s most iconic vehicles. In fact, it’s one of the most consequential nameplates, period, at least in North America.
When news of the Belvidere plant broke a few months ago, Stellantis representatives said they are “committed” to the segment, but were cagey as to whether a future offering would bear the Cherokee name. In 2021, the Cherokee Nation asked the automaker to drop the “Cherokee” moniker from the two models that use it.