It was in the 1940s, that Jeep became the well-known American brand of motor vehicles that it is today. The Jeep withstood the challenges of time and its versatility has made a significant impact in the automobile world. The American Bantam Car Company (ABCC) manufactured the Jeep initially. The US Army needed an all-terrain, lightweight vehicle designed specifically for the military and so they drew up the specs according to their own requirements. In 1941, the US Army contracted the manufacture of 16,000 from a bid of 135 contractors. Willys got the contract and so the Jeep was born. This sport utility vehicle became popular very quickly and became the favored choice of the US Military during World War 11. By 1945, the lightweight 4×4 vehicle was introduced to the public at large.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles owns the right to the Jeep brand of SUVs. The Jeep brand from FCA fit the current definition for SUVs even though each has different capabilities. Consumers can check Seattle Jeep Dealership for a wide assortment of Jeep SUVs.
The Jeep has progressed throughout its history and has held its own despite the challenges faced over the years. Listed below in this article is the Jeep’s evolution from its inception to the present.
1950-1959: Willys Motor
In the 1950s, the automobile industry exploded with a growth of recreational vehicles and engineering dominance. At its launch, the Jeep became a registered brand of Willys- Overland. Within three years, however, Willys sold out to Kaiser, thus creating a new company called Willys Motors Inc. In 1953, there was an updated version of the CJ model. In 1955, under Kaiser’s ownership, Jeep produced the CJ-5. This was the longest run model produced. The CJ-5 adopted the styling cues of the Jeep M -38A1 used in the Korean War. The CJ-5 however, was bigger and offered better performance, comfortable ride and off-road ability.
The company became the largest company globally that made 4×4 vehicles. Seven new models were developed and introduced during this decade. Among the new models of the 50s was the Fleetvan, a light duty, multi-stop vehicle application: the ice-cream trucks and postal delivery vans. It was in the 50s also that Jeep developed and introduced the CJ-6, the FC-150 and 170. Read here for additional information http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep#Ford_Pygmy_and_Willys_MB
1960-1969: The growth of the Jeep Brand
At the beginning of the new decade, Jeep developed other models. In 1962, Jeep introduced the Waggoner, designed to represent supreme refinement and originality. The brand grew in the 60s with 14 new models designed for various uses such as recreation, work and play and an expensively, proficient transport. The introduction of the Gladiator pickup truck and the new “Fearless” V6 engine in both the CJ-5 and CJ-6 produced high-performance vehicles with increased engine power that doubled that of their predecessors. In 1963, the Jeep developed the Wagoneer also the Commando and the Gladiator. The M-175 was designed and developed for the military, which was used for the two ensuing years, 1967-1969.
1970-1979: The AMC years
In 1969, under Kaiser’s ownership there was an extensive marketing promotion known as “Jeep Great Escape.” This promotional event highlighted the different recreational uses of the Jeep. In 1970, Kaiser sold the Jeep Company to American Motors (AMC). By this time, the popularity of 4 x 4 vehicles was growing rapidly and in 1978, the new company was producing up to 600 vehicles each day. Then in 1972, the first automatic full-time vehicle, the Quad Trac a four- wheel- drive was introduced and in 1976, the CJ-7 was introduced. Six new Jeep models sent sales skyrocketing during this decade.
1980-1989: A new Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV)
With a second energy crisis in the 80s, Jeep owners saw the need to design and develop smaller 4×4 wagons. The Cherokee (XJ) transformed the industry. The exclusive XJ featured a single-frame body, solid dimensions and a complete 4×4 suspension structure. The American Motors Cooperation raked up recorded sales during the 1980s, and withdrew the CJ-series in 1986 and introduced the Wrangler (YJ). In 1987, Chrysler bought AMC and the Jeep brand changed hands to become part of the Chrysler Cooperation.
1990-1999: The Luxurious SUVS
With the dawn of a new decade and after almost 30 years in the industry, the Grand Wagoner made its debut giving way to a newer model in 1991. Two years later, in 1993, the All-New Jeep Grand Cherokee (ZJ) made its entrance. This was larger and more expensive than Cherokee and offered a unique blend of on-and-off road capability. The introduction of the high –performance Wrangler (TJ), which looked like the CJ-7, came in 1997. The Grand Cherokee (WJ) hit the market in 1999 and was deemed the best SUV. The industry enjoyed a boom in sales during this decade. Click here for additional information: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/meet-the-jeep
2000-2009: The explosive growth of the Jeep brand
In 1998, Chrysler and Daimler-Benz merged and this union produced several new Jeep models. The 2001 Cherokee (KJ) replaced the longstanding Cherokee (XJ). The year 2006 saw the introduction of the Jeep Commander, a seven-passenger vehicle. A year later, three more Jeep models were launched: the Jeep Compass, and Patriot (MK) both were the first set Jeep vehicles in the small cross-utility sector. In 2007, the Wrangler and the Wrangler Unlimited (JK) hit the industry with a bang. The introduction of Cherokee (KK) came in 2008. By the year 2009, Chrysler merged with Fiat to form a global coalition.
2010-PRESENT: Riding out the storm to enjoy the best sales ever
The Chrysler Cooperation was not immune to the 2008-2010 automotive crises, which led to a merge with Fiat. Subsequently, Chrysler’s bail out by the US government was repaid in 2011. In 2014, Fiat bought the Chrysler Group and the company got a new name, the FCA US LLC. With the introduction of newer models to the Jeep brand, sales have peaked globally. Read here for Jeep’s newest models including the Compass (MP), Cherokee (KL) and Renegade (BU), which have enhanced the success of the Jeep brand.
Today, Jeep has remained a strong and significant vehicle in the auto industry. In a bid to attract potential customers, Chrysler has introduced multiple new vehicles in recent years. With vehicles such as the Compass, Commander, Liberty and Patriot including the Grand Cherokee and Wrangler, the Jeep Brand is going places. In fact, Jeep currently holds the record of the brand that has spiked sales for the Chrysler group, as the Grand Cherokee and Wrangler continue to be best sellers.