Home        Main menu

WJ sales, production dates & milestones

The first WJ The last WJ Calendar year production
Program costs MSRP at Intro Jefferson North
Production dates & milestones Retail sales 1998-2004

1999 WJ launch

WJ world debut launch at the Cobo Center in Detroit, June 16, 1998

The First WJ

First WJ
First WJ
First WJ

    The first WJ, shown above. The white 1999 Limited was produced on July 17th, 1998 and was signed by all of the plant employees as well as management and others associated with the development of the all-new Jeep. The Jefferson North Assembly Plant started up with single-shift production of the new Grand Cherokee. Second and third shifts were added in August. A total of 1,456 WJ's are built during July, another 10,000 in August and more than 20,000 each month the rest of the year.

Carryover parts from 1998 to 1999

Only 127 parts were carried over from the 1998 Grand Cherokee.

The last WJ

                   Max Ortiz / The Detroit News
Last WJ rolls off assembly line

The last WJ Grand Cherokee: No. 1,557,859 rolls out of JNAP

The last WJ series Grand Cherokee, a white Laredo model, rolled off the assembly lines at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant Friday May 21, 2004. Introduced 6 years ago in 1998, the 2nd generation WJ series has been very successful sales-wise. At retail, it is estimated that more than 1.4 million WJs will have been sold - incredibly close to the number of 1st generation '93-'98 ZJ's sold (1,428,095). The total number of Grand Cherokees produced now stands at more than 3 million.

During the last month of production the Jeep plant ran extra overtime to stockpile enough Grand Cherokees to last until the new model becomes available in early October. As of May 1st Jeep had 73,700 units in inventory, a 125-day supply. The sixteen production days in May added to that supply which should comfortably get Jeep through the end of the 2004 sales year.

Jefferson North will shutdown production for more than 9-weeks to retool for the all-new 2005 Grand Cherokee. Extensive remodeling and modernization will be done at the plant and when finished Jeep will be able to run multiple models while simultaneously piloting another vehicle on the same line. Productivity and efficiency will also be increased dramatically. Pilot production of the redesigned Jeep will begin in June with production versions rolling off the lines starting July 26th. In the summer of 2005, Jefferson North will be producing both the 2006 Grand Cherokee and the new 2006 "XK" 7-passenger "Commander" Jeep. Grand Cherokee production for model year 2005 will end on July 8th 2005, with 2006 production starting on July 18th.

Dealer orders for the new 2005 Grand Cherokee were accepted starting in mid-June 2004.

For information on the all-new 2005 "WK" Grand Cherokee,
please visit our companion web site:

Calendar year production

WJ production chart

Production started July 17, 1998 and commenced on May 21st, 2004

WJ Program and development costs
Design/engineering$550 mil.
Tooling and U.S. plant$750 mil.
New engines and transmissions$700 mil.
Graz plant, RHD tooling$300 mil.
TOTAL$2.3 Billion

1999 WJ MSRP* at Introduction
(*Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price, including $525 Destination charge)
Laredo (2WD)$26,220
Laredo (4WD)$28,190
Limited (2WD)$31,985
Limited (4WD)$34,415

Jefferson North Assembly Plant
Detroit, Michigan

Jefferson North Assembly Plant

ProductsJeep Grand Cherokee

ZJ (1992-1998)    WJ (1999-2004)    WK (2005-2010?)

Plant HistoryA new facility was built in 1991, replacing the original 75-year old Jefferson plant. The production launch of the first Jeep Grand Cherokee ("ZJ") was on January 14, 1992. A $750 million 3-year renovation and expansion was completed in 1998, adding over 800,000 square feet. A second major renovation is taking place during May-July of 2004 in preparation for the new 2005 model and next year's 2006 luxury "Commander" model.
Location2101 Conner Avenue, Detroit, MI 48215
Current production955 vehicles per day, two shifts
Maximum production1336 vehicles per day, three shifts
Capacity (Annual)350,000
Floor Space2.6 Million square feet
Acreage283 acres
Conveyors24.1 miles
Robotics357 Robots in the plant
2791 employees (as of 8/2004)
Training Hours120,000 hours (2003)
Union LocalU.A.W. (United Auto Workers) Local #7, #889, and #412

Grand Cherokee production dates & milestones
Spring 1989Chrysler head Bob Lutz first reveals the Grand Cherokee concept at the 1989 Detroit auto show.
October 1991The first Grand Cherokee (code-named "ZJ") is assembled at the Jefferson North Assembly plant (JNAP). A total of 106 pre-production 1993 models are built ahead of the January 14, 1992 production launch.
January, 1992The Jeep Grand Cherokee is introduced at the 1992 North American International Auto Show in Detroit and is driven THROUGH the glass walls of the Cobo Exhibition Center by Chrysler President, Bob Lutz. The Grand Cherokee is the first 4x4 to be fitted with a standard driver's side airbag.
January 14, 1992Production starts for the new 1993 Grand Cherokee. 326 units are built during January and 2,335 more in February. Production gradually increases throughout the year, peaking at 19,000 in October. Sales are successful for the new Grand Cherokee. Total model year retail sales tops 216,000 units.
April 19, 1992The new 1993 Grand Cherokee is publicly announced.
September 19931994 models introduced. Grand Wagoneer dropped, new Orvis package, Limited gets 4-wheel disc brakes, side door beams added.
September 19941995 models introduced. 4-wheel disc brakes become standard on all models, rear tailgate adds optional flip up glass hatch, 5.2L V8 gets modest torque increase, 5-speed manual transmission dropped.
October 1994Jeep and Steyr Daimler Puch form a joint venture in 1993 and begin production of RHD (and LHD) Grand Cherokees in Graz, Austria in October 1994.
September 19951996 models introduced. New exterior appearance - grille, fascias, cladding and nameplates and an all-new interior. Driver and passenger air bags are standard, part-time only Command-Trac dropped, refinements to engine make it smoother & quieter.
April 26, 1996The one-millionth Grand Cherokee ZJ rolls off the assembly line.
June 1996WJ conversion begins at JNAP, 365,000 square foot addition to body shop, third paint line added.
September 19961997 models go on sale. New, improved ABS system, new steering column design, upgraded sound systems, new TSi model.
March 26, 1997At the New York Auto Show Chrysler formerly announces the powerful new 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited, slated for fall availability. "Combines the performance of a 245 horsepower 5.9-liter V-8 engine with more luxury and authentic Jeep capability". Sold in overseas markets as the Grand Cherokee LX. 1997 was the last model year for the 1st generation ZJ series.
August 1997First WJ F1 pilot vehicles built at CTC (Chrysler Technology Center). Error/mistake-proofing simulations started at JNAP.
September 19971998 models go on sale. Limited gets a new 5.9L optional engine. Orvis designer package dropped.
October 7, 1997Special Edition 1998 model Grand Cherokee Laredo announced.
May 22, 1998The last of 1,662,552 ZJ Grand Cherokees is built. The plant shuts down to retool for the all-new 1999 Grand Cherokee "WJ".
June, 1998Production starts for the all-new 4.7-liter V-8 engine slated for the 1999 Grand Cherokee. In preparation, the one-million square-foot Mack Avenue Engine facility underwent a three-year, $930 million metamorphosis that left the ceiling and the structural steel as the only original parts.
June 15, 1998Verification of assembly line equipment begins, with two weeks scheduled for systems trials and debugging.
June 16, 1998On this day at 1:00pm, the new Grand Cherokee WJ was officially introduced at the Cobo Center in Detroit - this was the world wide introduction of the 2nd generation "All-new 1999 Grand Cherokee", promoted by Chrysler to be "The Most Capable Sport Utility Ever".
June 29, 19981999 WJ production run, 49 vehicles are built 6/29 and 6/30. 126 more WJ pilots are built ahead of the July 17 production launch.
July 9, 1998Chrysler launches production of its new 45RFE rear-wheel-drive transmission. Along with the 4.7 liter V-8, it will power the 1999 Grand Cherokee and, later, Ram trucks.
July 17, 1998WJ Job#1 - The Jefferson North Assembly Plant starts up with single-shift production of the new 1999 Grand Cherokee. "The birth of the WJ". A total of 1,456 WJ's are built during July, another 10,000 in August and more than 20,000 each month the rest of the year.
August 3, 1998JNAP Second shift launch
August 17, 1998JNAP Third shift launch
August 24, 1998Shipments to dealers of the new Grand Cherokee began this week
September 4, 1998The all-new 1999 Grand Cherokee officially goes on sale in the USA.
November 17, 1998Chrysler Corporation merges with Daimler-Benz to create DaimlerChrysler, the largest automotive union in the history of automobile manufacturing.
December 9, 1998The all-new Grand Cherokee is unveiled in Europe for first time (Bologna Motor Show, Italy)
December 29, 1998DaimlerChrysler unveils the Jeep Commander concept vehicle during the sport utility's world debut for media at the LA Auto Show.
Jan/Feb 1999Production of the all-new Grand Cherokee begins for international markets at assembly plants in Austria & South America. The first RHD (right-hand drive) WJ's are built.
March 1999The all-new Grand Cherokee goes on sale in international markets.
June 19991999 WJ production ends
July 19992000 WJ production begins
October 28, 1999JNAP holds a celebration as Jeep Grand Cherokee No. 2,000,000 and No. 2,000,001 roll off the assembly lines.
January 2, 2000Jefferson North Assembly Plant Y2K validation. During a 4-hour special Sunday trial run, 181 Grand Cherokees are built with no glitches encountered. Jefferson North Plant manager Fred Martino-DiCicco and UAW Local President Gerald Wooten drove one of the first volume production vehicles off the assembly line to a gathering of employees and media.
June 20002000 WJ production ends
July 20002001 WJ production begins
October 23, 2000Commander 2 concept Jeep unveiled
February 5, 2001Special 60th Anniversary Edition models of the Grand Cherokee, Wrangler and Cherokee are released for a limited time period. Grand Cherokee sales for this edition totaled 3,822.
March 27, 20012002 Grand Cherokee Special Edition introduced at the New York Auto Show.
June 18, 2001HO engine production begins
July 6, 20012001 WJ production ends
July 16, 20012002 WJ production begins
September 20012002 model year sales launch. New upscale Overland model is added to the line-up. Several new major options are introduced, including side airbags, 4.7L High Output engine, adjustable pedals, Electroluminescent gauges, Rain-Sense wipers and a Tire Pressure Monitor System.
September 28, 20012002 Grand Cherokee Laredo Sport announced by Jeep
October 02, 2001Chrysler group Jeep exhibit opens at Walter P. Chrysler Museum
November 15, 20012002 Grand Cherokee Laredo Sport starts to arrive in showrooms
June 3, 20022003 Grand Cherokee order banks open
June 11, 2002A new Jeep concept vehicle was unveiled at the DaimlerChrysler Innovation Symposium in Stuttgart, Germany. The Grand Cherokee Concierge was designed for testing safety features such as Active Night Vision, a new advanced SmarTire monitor system and other technologies.
July 3, 20022002 WJ production ends
July 9, 2002Starting this day, Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles are covered by a seven-year or 70,000-mile powertrain warranty on all new Chrysler Group vehicles. This industry-leading warranty is fully transferable to subsequent owner and represents Chrysler Group's long term multi-brand campaign to underscore quality gains.
July 22, 20022003 WJ production begins
August 2002The one-millionth WJ is sold
October 15, 2002Ordering closes for the 2003 model year.
October 30, 20022004 Grand Cherokee order banks open
December 23, 20022003 WJ production ends, shortest WJ model year.
January 2, 2003Production begins for model year 2004 Grand Cherokees. First WJ refreshening.
January 5, 20032004 WJ models introduced at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. New 2004 "Freedom" Edition introduced.
February 20032004 Laredo and Limited models begin to arrive in showrooms. Production of 2004 Overland model begins.

Production of WK pilots begin, "Job #0".

March 10, 2003Production of the new limited-run "Freedom Edition" model begins.
September 18, 2003"Trail Ready" advertising campaign announced. Badges to appear on new Jeep vehicles immediately. Advertising start date set for mid-October.
October 6, 2003Production start-up for the new "Columbia Edition" Grand Cherokee.
November 17, 20032005 WK unveiled for the first time (to dealers and selected Press members), Cobo Hall, Detroit.
December 22, 2003Production ends for the "Columbia Edition".
February 2004Production startup for 5.7L Hemi engines with new Cylinder Deactivation feature.
March 2004Ordering closes for the Grand Cherokee 2004 model year.
April 7, 20042005 Grand Cherokee world premiere for the press, New York Auto Show.
April 9, 20042005 Grand Cherokee world premiere for the public, New York Auto Show.
May, 2004Grand Cherokee "Rocky Mountain Edition" released, the last WJ model to be manufactured.
May 21, 2004The last WJ series Grand Cherokee rolls off the assembly lines. The plant closes for approximately 2 months to retool for the all-new 2005 model.
July 26, 2004All new 2005 "WK" Grand Cherokee production start-up (Job #1).
August, 20042004 Grand Cherokee "WG" export model - end of production for 4.0 models
September 2004All new 2005 "WK" Grand Cherokee scheduled to start arriving in dealer showrooms (late September)
October, 20042004 Grand Cherokee "WG" export model - end of production for 4.7 models
October 21, 2004All new 2005 "WK" featured for "Premiere Nights", a national dealer event to formally introduce and showcase the new Grand Cherokee to the public.
November, 20042004 Grand Cherokee "WG" export model - end of production for 4.7 HO models
December, 20042004 Grand Cherokee "WG" export model - end of production for 2.7 Turbo Diesel models
February, 2005First 2006 WK Grand Cherokee volume production pilot models are built at Jefferson North, including the Laredo, Limited Overland and SRT-8 models.
February, 2005First 2006 XK Commander volume production pilot models are built at Jefferson North.
March 20052005 Grand Cherokee "WH" export model premiere at the Geneva International Motor Show
March 7, 20052005 Grand Cherokee "WH" export model volume production startup for 4.7L and 5.7L models (Job #1)
March 18, 20052006 Grand Cherokee SRT-8 world premiere, Live with Regis and Kelly show, New York.
March 23, 20052006 Jeep Commander world premiere, New York International Auto Show
March 23, 20052006 Grand Cherokee SRT-8 introduction, New York International Auto Show
May 2, 20052005 Grand Cherokee "WH" export model volume production startup for 3.0 V6 CRD models (Job #1)
July 5, 20052006 WK Grand Cherokee production startup
July 8, 20052005 WK Grand Cherokee final day of production (Buildout)
July 18, 20052006 "XK" Commander production launch
September 2005Sales introduction for the 2006 WK and XK models
September 12, 2005World premiere of the Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot concept models at the Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA)
November 5, 2005Production launch for the 2006 Grand Cherokee SRT-8 models
December 23, 20052005 Grand Cherokee "WH" export model production end (Buildout)
December, 2005First Grand Cherokee SRT-8 models begin arriving to dealers
January 9, 2006Start of production for 2006 WH Grand Cherokee export models
January 16, 2006Start of production for 2006 XH Commander export models
April, 2006On-sale date for the european export models of the Jeep Commander
April 12, 2006World premiere of production versions of the Jeep Compass and Patriot at the NY Auto Show
May 30, 2006Start of production for the 2007 Jeep Compass
June 30, 2006End of production for 2006 WK and XK models
July, 2006On-sale date for the european export models of the Grand Cherokee SRT-8
July 17, 2006Start of production for 2007 WK and XK models
October, 2006Start of production for the 2007 Jeep Patriot
October 13, 2006End of production for 2006 WH Grand Cherokee and WK Commander export models
July 13, 2007End of production for 2007 WK Grand Cherokee and XK Commander models
July, 2007Start of production for 2008 WK Grand Cherokee and XK Commander models

WJ Retail Sales 1998-2004
1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004

WJ Sales by month - 1998
Month Sales Total sales YTD
Oct-98 19,044 19,044
Nov-98 21,415 40,459
Dec-98 22,421 Total:  62,880

WJ Sales by month - 1999
Month Sales Total sales YTD
Jan-99 22,496 22,496
Feb-99 22, 074 44,570
Mar-99 23,700 68,270
Apr-99 21,583 89,853
May-99 23,078 112,931
Jun-99 24,029 136,960
Jul-99 29,197 166,157
Aug-99 31,698 197,855
Sep-99 27,529 225,384
Oct-99 26,989 252,373
Nov-99 23,585 275,958
Dec-99 24,073 1999 Total:  300,031

WJ Sales by month - 2000
Month Sales Total sales YTD
Jan-00 19,750 19,750
Feb-00 21,934 41,684
Mar-00 22,758 64,442
Apr-00 22,066 86,508
May-00 24,926 111,434
Jun-00 20,966 132,400
Jul-00 24,610 157,010
Aug-00 27,444 184,454
Sep-00 27,219 211,673
Oct-00 19,526 231,199
Nov-00 19,944 251,143
Dec-00 20,580 2000 Total:  271,723

WJ Sales by month - 2001
Month Sales Total sales YTD
Jan-01 16,239 16,239
Feb-01 19,181 35,420
Mar-01 23,025 58,445
Apr-01 16,670 75,215
May-01 15,503 90,718
Jun-01 16,813 107,531
Jul-01 18,627 123,465
Aug-01 16,381 142,539
Sep-01 16,002 158,541
Oct-01 23,989 182,530
Nov-01 19,986 202,516
Dec-01 21,096 2001 Total:  223,612

WJ Sales by month - 2002
Month Sales Total sales YTD
Jan-02 13,540 13,540
Feb-02 17,592 31,132
Mar-02 20,175 51,307
Apr-02 19,142 70,449
May-02 16,700 87,149
Jun-02 16,149 103,298
Jul-02 20,167 123,465
Aug-02 23,298 146,763
Sep-02 14,412 161,175
Oct-02 17,626 178,801
Nov-02 21,308 200,109
Dec-02 24,124 2002 Total:  224,233

WJ Sales by month - 2003
Month Sales Total sales YTD
Jan-03 10,516 10,516
Feb-03 14,040 24,556
Mar-03 17,965 42,521
Apr-03 16,189 58,710
May-03 15,919 74,629
Jun-03 15,099 89,728
Jul-03 18,562 108,290
Aug-03 20,050 128,340
Sep-03 16,410 144,750
Oct-03 18,968 163,718
Nov-03 20,587 184,305
Dec-03 23,174 Total:  207,479

WJ Sales by month - 2004
Month Sales Total sales YTD
Jan-04 15,184 15,184
Feb-04 16,610 31,794
Mar-04 17,105 48,899
Apr-04 15,301 64,200
May-04 18,001 82,201
Jun-04 12,917 95,118
Jul-04 13,682 108,800
Aug-04 13,563 122,363
Sep-04 12,228 134,591
Oct-04 13,968 148,559
Nov-04 13,372 161,931
Dec-04 20,382 182,313
Total WJ's sold: 1,451,889
(Through Nov '04)

Home     Main menu