The Cherokee nameplate is set to return to US versions of Jeep’s mid-size SUV when the all-new model makes its debut at March’s New York Auto Show.
Australian models have consistently used the Cherokee badge since the XJ’s local debut in 1994, but US models have used the Liberty nameplate (held locally by Subaru) since the KJ model’s 2002 debut.
The first two generations of Liberty haven’t matched the success of the original XJ model (produced 1984-2001), and US paper Detroit Free Press reports this week of a return to the original nameplate to cash in on the hallowed moniker.
Jeep is yet to confirm such plans, but CEO Mike Manley is far from denying the Cherokee’s return.
"It certainly is a very, very well-known name. People who had Cherokees remember them incredibly fondly. It has huge name recognition and a big following," Manley said.
This likely rebirth of the Cherokee won’t be the only recycled badge in Jeep’s near future though. Fiat/Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne confirmed early last year that the Grand Wagoneer model is set to return for the first time since 1993.
"Grand Wagoneer represents an opportunity for Jeep to truly get back to that bigger premium SUV segment. People eagerly are awaiting it", Manley added.
The Grand Wagoneer will reportedly surface in 2014 or 2015, using an enlarged version of the existing Grand Cherokee’s Mercedes-Benz-derived platform.
For now, the top family mover in the Jeep range is the Grand Cherokee, itself due for an update in the coming year.