The History of the Jeep Grand Cherokee Long Island, NY

The Jeep Grand Cherokee: Where its Been, What has Changed, and Where it is Going

Where it all Began

Originating in 1983, the Jeep Grand Cherokee was being modeled to be the successor to the smaller Jeep Cherokee. The American Motors Corporation began development for the Jeep Grand Cherokee by 1985 and created the process now known as the "product life cycle management." This process allowed for the smallest American automaker find a method to enhance production speed in order to compete better against their competitors. Being aided by computer-aided design software systems allowed for engineers to be more productive and new communication systems allowed for conflicts to be resolved faster, therefore reducing costly engineering changes. This system proved to be so incredibly effective that Chrysler bought American Motors Corporation and expanded the system as to connect everyone involved in the design and building. This made the Jeep Grand Cherokee the first Chrysler-badged Jeep product and made Jeep very eager to begin production, but due to a push for a redesigned Chrysler Minivan, pushed the release until late 1992.

The Debut of the Jeep Grand Cherokee

The Jeep Grand Cherokee debuted in style at the 1992 North American International Auto Show that took place in Detroit, Michigan. A Poppy Red Clear Coat 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ Laredo, with high-back bucket seats and a quartz cloth interior, was driven by the President of Chrysler, Robert Lutz and Detroit Mayor, Coleman Young. Driven from the Jefferson North Assembly Plant to Cobo Hall, the Jeep Grand Cherokee made its way up the steps of Cobo Hall and drove through a plate-glass window to prove the new vehicle was about to smash any glass ceiling that would get in its way. Shortly after its introduction to the world, production began in the purpose-built Jefferson North Assembly. The Jeep Grand Cherokee was first introduced in April of 1992, but was presented as an early 1993 model year vehicle and there was only one choice of powertrain. The 4.0 L AMC derived straight-six engine that could reach up to 190 horsepower and transmission choices of a four-speed automatic transmission or an Aisin Ax15 manual transmission.

Time for a Redesign

A redesign of the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ made it so only 127 parts were shared with its predecessor. Changes that resulted in the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee included a relocation of the spare tire from the side of the cargo compartment to under the floor and the previously two heavy pushrod V8 engines were replaced with the then-new PowerTech. Although the new V8 engine produced less torque than its previous pushrods, it did allow for a better fuel-economy and provided a very similar road performance. The straight-six engine also got a face-lift for 1999 with a redesigned intake manifold that resulted in an added 10 horsepower. Another new feature for the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee was the automatic four wheel drive option, which was referred to as the "Quadra-Drive." The updates were not only subject to the exterior, but the interior as well. The redesign included larger rear doors and more space in the rear for the comfort of passengers. Convenience was in the fore-front of the designer's minds when redesigning the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee which allowed for various items like headlights, heated seats, and rear wipers to be moved to a more convenient location. Also, the electronic Vehicle Information Center was moved from below the radio to above the windshield.

The Future and Beyond

The Jeep Grand Cherokee WK was first revealed in 2004 as a 2005 model year, at the 2004 New York International Auto Show and came equipped with first-time-ever features such as Quadra-Drive II four-wheel drive, rear-seat DVD player, an optional 5.7 Hemi V8, and the 3.7 L V6 engine was replaced with the 4.0L Straight-6. With significant work done to improve noise, harshness, and vibration, the 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee was still designed with power and luxury in mind. For the first time, Jeep emphasized on-road performance and was comparable with the brands iconic off-road capability. In 2008, the Jeep Grand Cherokee received another mini face lift with a more rounded bottom of the headlights and an addition of High Intensity Discharge Headlamps with auto leveling. Also, to improve upon off-road performance the front bumper became removable to increase the approach angle.

The fourth-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee was released as a 2011 model in the summer of 2010 at the 2009 New York Auto Show. The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee stayed true to its classic Jeep styling, but combined modern and sleek styles. With features such as leather trim, real wood accents, and Bluetooth and Uconnect electronic options, the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee won 30 awards for off-road capability, luxury, value, best-in-class, and safety; making the Jeep Grand Cherokee to become the most awarded SUV ever. As the years go on, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has continued to grow, update, and succeed in the automotive industry and plans on staying a vehicle icon for many years to come.

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