Jeep’s parent company has ignored objections by the Cherokee Nation that it should not use the Cherokee name on some of its products. Two years ago, Chuck Hoskin Jr., principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, told Car & Driver that he wanted the name of his tribe off the Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee models. (These are the worst new cars for the environment and humans.)
Jeep’s owner Stellantis has done nothing because its management understands that renaming a major product would hurt sales. That is hardly an excuse, ethically. It calls into question management morals.
Several other organizations that use Indian names have made changes, either because of public pressure or ethical decisions by management. One of the most prominent was replacing the name of the Washington NFL team, the Redskins. The team’s new name is the Washington Commanders.
Ultimately, the decision about the Jeep name rests with Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares. He has reason not to drop the Cherokee name. Jeep sales fell 20% in the first quarter to 154,203. According to Cox Automotive, “The volume-leading Grand Cherokee had a sales decline of 27% to 54,502 units.”
Cherokee sales are off, which is a kind of justice.
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