April 14, 2005 , Auburn Hills, Mich./Stuttgart, Germany -

Sales of the all-new 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee continue to accelerate with monthly and year-over-year gains

The Jeep® Grand Cherokee, which debuted by being driven through a glass wall during the North American International Auto Show on Jan. 7, 1992, recently broke through another barrier: North American sales of the vehicle that redefined the sport-utility market surpassed three million units in March. Worldwide, nearly 3.5 million Jeep Grand Cherokees have been sold since that memorable introduction 13 years ago at the Cobo Convention Center in Detroit.

"The first Jeep Grand Cherokee created the luxury sport-utility market," said Jeff Bell, Vice President - Jeep. "Since then, many very strong competitors have intensified the full-size SUV market. Yet, none have matched Grand Cherokee's combination of legendary Jeep 4x4 capability, on-road refinement, technological innovations and safety features."

Jeep Grand Cherokee sales in March 2005 were 18,828 units, lifting sales to 3,013,296 units since the 1992 introduction of the vehicle. Last month's Grand Cherokee sales were up compared to February 2005 (15,531 units) and March 2004 (17,105 units).

The first Jeep Grand Cherokee (code named ZJ) was introduced as a 1993 model. It achieved levels of comfort, ride and handling previously unavailable in a sport-utility vehicle, and was the first SUV to be equipped with a driver's side air bag. 

The second generation Grand Cherokee (WJ) was introduced in 1998 as a1999 model. Among its noteworthy features was the new Quadra-Drive® transfer case. A new concept in four-wheel-drive systems, it incorporated a progressive, speed-sensing torque transfer coupling. The system marked the first industry use of Vari-Lok axles that had progressive, speed-sensing torque transfer differentials, in both front and rear axles. Combining Quadra-Trac II® and Vari-Lok yielded the revolutionary Quadra-Drive system, which, without any driver involvement, keeps the vehicle moving even if only one wheel has minimal traction - a key customer benefit under all driving conditions.

The current model (WK) was unveiled last year. All-new from the ground up, the award-winning 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee is the best Grand Cherokee ever. Besides three new full-time four-wheel-drive systems, two new transfer cases, all-new independent and front suspension, rack and pinion steering (Jeep firsts), and an all-new five-speed transmission, the current Grand Cherokee was the first Jeep vehicle available with the 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 and the Multi-Displacement System (MDS). MDS imperceptibly deactivates four cylinders when the V-8 is not needed. (The all-new 2006 Jeep Commander, due in showrooms this fall, will also be available with the HEMI engine.)

The design of the 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee is athletic and contemporary, yet embodies classic Jeep styling, including the Jeep brand's signature seven-slot grille, round headlamps and trapezoidal wheel openings. The new interior is refined, featuring a two-tone instrument panel with an easy-to-read instrument cluster, firm, beautifully crafted seats, chrome accents throughout, a gated automatic shifter and plenty of storage bins.

Safety features include Electronic Stability Program, an All-Speed Traction Control System, advanced multi-stage air bags with an Occupant Classification System, anti-lock brakes, and SmartBeamTM   headlamps that automatically and quickly adjust high-beam brightness and intensity, depending on  nighttime light sources or traffic.

Jeep brand sales continued their monthly sales acceleration by posting sales of 40,491 units in March, an increase of 1 percent over February 2005 sales.