They'll be lucky to move 15k units per year with looks like that.
We all called it though, they're delaying the vehicle accord to WSJ. They're claiming there were a multitude of factors including "compressed budgets for tooling".
Yeah right, they realized they had buggered the whole exterior up (which WSJ notes is because they tried to save money by re-using an Alfa design), and pulled the plug before they really hurt themselves. All this thing needs is an exterior redesign to be a good vehicle. Luckily it sounds like someone had the balls to pull the plug before it was too late on this monstrosity.
This is a very important vehicle for Jeep. They have to prove they didn't just get lucky with the WK2 thanks to MB's input. The Cherokee, if done right, has the potential to be the volume seller. If done wrong, it could be a massive mistake.
Personally, I don't care much about the name Cherokee, I never owned an XJ or anything like that. But, I would like a vehicle as upscale as my GC Overland, with a bit less heft and capability (but still capable of taking me down whatever snowy, dirt covered roads I need to take to get to the ski lodge), a bit more fuel economy, but the same CLASSIC AND RUGGED Jeep styling. I don't want something "contemporary", if I want that, I'll buy a damn import. I want something that looks like it should be a Jeep, the new Compass has this in spades. Patriot has this, GC has this, and the KK Liberty has this.
Bottom line, pulling the plug on that exterior is the best choice. Not letting an atrocious exterior ruin what likely will be a nice interior, a decent powertrain (frankly I would have liked it better if they just used the 3.6L for a bit more power and economy of scale engine cost reduction), and a vehicle that has the potential to help Jeep out a lot is the right thing to do.
This vehicle will face STIFF competition, and needs to have every advantage it can. Saying it can offroad better than the others won't do it any good. Forester can offroad and nobody cares. Rav4, Escape, CR-V, Equinox/Terrain, Sante Fe, and you've even got smaller vehicles like Compass, Tucson/Sportage, etc. that will give this thing very stiff competition. Not to mention if its as "World Class" as we're told to believe, it will face competition from above like X1/X3, GLK/GLA, Q5/Q3, etc. and will likely have a price disadvantage compared to its more mainstream rivals.
This is vehicle that's very much on my radar as a 2nd Jeep for my better half. But not with that vomit inducing front end.