September 9, 2013 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - The Jeep® Cherokee debuted in 1974, and was based on the Jeep Wagoneer SJ platform.

The original Cherokee was marketed as the sporty two-door version of the popular Jeep Wagoneer. The Cherokee remained a two-door sport-utility (SUV) until 1977 when a four-door version was introduced. Jeep produced 197,338 SJ platform Cherokee models between 1974 and 1983.

In 1984, American Motors Corporation invested $250 million to redesign the Jeep Cherokee as a smaller, more advanced SUV based on the all-new Jeep XJ platform. The 1984 Jeep Cherokee was a revolutionary vehicle — 21 inches shorter, 6 inches narrower, 4 inches lower, and a thousand pounds lighter than the full-size Wagoneer (SJ). It was built on a revolutionary unibody platform instead of a traditional chassis-and-frame. The Cherokee continued to be available as both two- and four-door models until 1988.

The Jeep Cherokee (XJ) was the first vehicle with two available 4x4 systems: Command-Trac part-time and Selec-Trac full-time 4x4. Jeep Cherokee XJ models have proven enduringly popular with 4x4 enthusiasts for their off-road capability and wide availability of aftermarket modifications.

Sales of the Jeep Cherokee soared after the 1984 redesign with more than 100,000 units sold worldwide every year from 1986 through 2001. In 2002, Cherokee was replaced by the Jeep Liberty in North America. The Cherokee had its best sales year in 1999, with more than 200,000 units sold worldwide.