At the Chrysler-Jeep make meeting at the NADA convention, dealers complained about the continuing powertrain noise in the Grand Cherokee.
'We see (the problem with the Grand Cherokee) as over, but (our dealers) are still dealing with some of the problems,' said John MacDonald, senior vice president of sales and service for the Chrysler group, during an interview after the meeting.
Misaligned gear teeth in the powertrain cause an annoying hum and a heavy flow of customers into dealers' service bays.
Other questions about the overall feel of the Grand Cherokee were raised at the meeting, said Thomas Steigerwald, owner of Team Jeep in Olean, N.Y.
With a sticker price near $40,000, customers expect plush and responsive performance. But the Grand Cherokee is built on a truck frame, which gives it some rough and tumble truck characteristics.
Overall, the mood of the meeting was optimistic. 'The confidence level (among Chrysler dealers) is running at the 95th percentile,' Steigerwald said.
Another bone of contention at the meeting is the way Chrysler sells its off-lease vehicles. At the moment, some 425,000 used Chrysler brand vehicles are sold at auction each year. More than 90 percent of those are sold at Chrysler dealer-only auctions. But the remaining 40,000 vehicles are sold at open auction and affixed with a 'Chrysler Certified' sticker.
Those vehicles can then be sold by a competing dealer or on an independent used-car lot. The competing dealer also can sell a Chrysler service contract.
'Before the meeting' we thought the practice was fine, MacDonald said. 'Now it's not so fine.'
Added Bud Liebler, director of marketing for the Chrysler group: 'Getting upset over 40,000 high-mileage cars isn't worth it. We'll fix it.'