One of the most iconic names in American automobile history may be “retired”.  The Cherokee Nation has for many years petitioned Jeep to remove the name Cherokee from one of its best-selling sport utility vehicles.  Jeep’s parent company is Stellantis, the name of the union formed when Chrysler merged with an investment group.  Jeep has been in the Chrysler stables for three and a half decades.

The Cherokee has filled many a family driveway and as station wagons faded from view it often played the same role.  It was commonly used for bringing home groceries and for taking kids to soccer practice.

There have sometimes even been two models using the name.  Cherokee and Grand Cherokee.

Past requests by the indigenous tribe didn’t get nearly as much traction as the four wheel drive.  Times have changed.  Mr. Potato Head has been emasculated.  The Washington Football Team replaced a controversial name and logo.  Dr. Seuss is being memory holed.

Mr. Potato Head has been emasculated.  The Washington Football Team replaced a controversial name and logo.  Dr. Seuss is being memory holed.

I’m not sure Jeep’s use of the name was a pejorative.  The Chief Executive Officer at Stellantis is making it clear the name isn’t meant to be offensive.

The challenge for Jeep, according to one industry publication, is the name has become so iconic any change could alter sales.  Possibly not in favor of the manufacturer.

Jeep has often borrowed from culture for bold names.  My first model was a Wrangler.  For many years I owned a Patriot, which is a somewhat scaled down version of a Cherokee.  Of course, Wrangler and Patriot aren’t named after ethnic groups.  Maybe Jeep can borrow from the Washington Football Team.  How about something along the lines of Jeep Grocery Getter?

Yep, not quite the same.

 

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