The 2014 Jeep Cherokee production model was first unveiled at the New York Auto Show earlier this year. Whatever happened to the highly anticipated return of the versatile off-road icon?

According to Chrysler's nationwide inventory system, as reported by Yahoo! Autos' Justin Hyde, 19,000 Jeep Cherokees have been assembled as of September 30. However, not a single one has been delivered to a Chrysler-Jeep dealership.

German transmission company ZF has been struggling to get its nine-speed automatic gearbox to work with the 2014 Jeep Cherokee.

When Chrysler addressed the delay, it carefully released the following statement: "Over the last couple of weeks during final quality and durability testing, we have discovered the opportunity to further improve powertrain calibration."

According to Jalopnik, the ZF nine-speed gearbox is failing to engage eighth gear and ninth gear properly. In fact, the problem with the gearbox is so severe that Jeep even dropped its PR event.

The ZF nine-speed transmission is an innovative piece of technology and a first in the 2014 Jeep Cherokee's class. According to a source familiar with the ZF transmission, the gearbox is mechanically sound. However, an issue with programming setting the engineers back. While old-Chrysler would have been perfectly fine with introducing the 2014 Jeep Cherokee to market regardless, new-Chrysler is determined to make it reliable before launch.

"They want the launch to be bulletproof and not just here but in the export markets, and literally, this is a global vehicle and they know why it's gotta be right," said Jim Hall, managing director of 2953 Analytics. "This is the thing that's going to reset Jeep in a lot of overseas market because it's a new modern Jeep and the locals are going to know it's coming from the Fiat group."