- Jeep’s parent company may drop the Cherokee name from its SUVs, The Wall Street Journal reports.
- The leader of the Cherokee Nation spoke out against Jeep’s use of the name in February.
- Jeep has sold SUVs under Cherokee badging for more than 40 years.
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The long-running Jeep Cherokee SUV may need to find a new name.
Following criticism from the Cherokee Nation’s leader, the top boss at Jeep’s newly formed parent company, Stellantis, said the automaker is mulling the idea of dropping the Native American tribe’s name from its vehicles.
Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares told The Wall Street Journal that the company is in talks about the name with the Cherokee Nation. He indicated Stellantis is open to rebranding its SUVs.
“We are ready to go to any point, up to the point where we decide with the appropriate people and with no intermediaries,” Tavares told the outlet. “At this stage, I don’t know if there is a real problem. But if there is one, well, of course, we will solve it.”
Last month, Chief Principal of the Cherokee Nation Chuck Hoskin Jr. spoke out against Jeep’s use of the tribe’s name, as first reported by Car and Driver. Jeep has sold the Cherokee compact SUV in various forms since the mid-1970s, and it introduced the larger Grand Cherokee in 1992.
“Our names were carefully selected by our ancestors before written history. This has been our proud name for a long time, I don’t see a way to compromise on the subject of a corporation marketing on the Cherokee name,” Hoskin previously told Insider.
Jeep, for its part, says the name is meant to “honor and celebrate Native American people,” a spokesperson told Insider.
A spokesperson for Cherokee Nation did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The news comes at a time when many corporations are reevaluating their use of native names and imagery. In July, the Washington Redskins decided to rebrand following years of backlash against their offensive team name. And in May, Land O’Lakes butter removed a depiction of a Native American woman from its packaging that was long criticized as a racist stereotype.