Jeep is an American automobile marque, now owned by multi-national corporation Stellantis. Jeep has been part of Chrysler since 1987, when Chrysler acquired the Jeep brand, along with remaining assets, from its previous owner American Motors Corporation (AMC).
Jeep’s current product range consists solely of sport utility vehicles—both crossovers and fully off-road worthy SUVs and models, including one pickup truck. Previously, Jeep’s range included other pick-ups, as well as small vans, and a few roadsters. Some of Jeep’s vehicles—such as the Grand Cherokee—reach into the luxury SUV segment, a market segment the 1963 Wagoneer is considered to have started. Jeep sold 1.4 million SUVs globally in 2016, up from 500,000 in 2008, two-thirds of which in North America, and was Fiat-Chrysler’s best selling brand in the U.S. during the first half of 2017. In the U.S. alone, over 2400 dealerships hold franchise rights to sell Jeep-branded vehicles, and if Jeep were spun off into a separate company, it is estimated to be worth between $22 and $33.5 billion—slightly more than all of FCA (US). Christian Meunier is the current President of the Jeep brand worldwide.
Prior to 1940 the term “jeep” had been used as U.S. Army slang for new recruits or vehicles, but the World War II “jeep” that went into production in 1941 specifically tied the name to this light military 4×4, arguably making them the oldest four-wheel drive mass-production vehicles now known as SUVs. The Jeep became the primary light 4-wheel-drive vehicle of the United States Armed Forces and the Allies during World War II, as well as the postwar period. The term became common worldwide in the wake of the war. Doug Stewart noted: “The spartan, cramped, and unstintingly functional jeep became the ubiquitous World War II four-wheeled personification of Yankee ingenuity and cocky, can-do determination.” It is the precursor of subsequent generations of military light utility vehicles such as the Humvee, and inspired the creation of civilian analogs such as the original Series I Land Rover. Many Jeep variants serving similar military and civilian roles have since been designed in other nations.
The Jeep marque has been headquartered in Toledo, Ohio, ever since Willys–Overland launched production of the first CJ or Civilian Jeep branded models there in 1945. Its replacement, the conceptually consistent Jeep Wrangler series, has remained in production since 1986. With its solid axles and open top, the Wrangler has been called the Jeep model that is as central to the brand’s identity as the 911 is to Porsche.
In lowercase, the term “jeep” continues to be used as a generic term for vehicles inspired by the Jeep that are suitable for use on rough terrain. In Iceland, the word Jeppi (derived from Jeep) has been used since WWII and is still used for any type of SUV.
Jeep history, profile and history video
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“Origin of the name
Many explanations of the origin of the word jeep have proven difficult to verify. The most widely held theory is that the military designation GP (for Government Purposes orGeneral Purpose) was slurred into the word Jeep in the same way that the contemporary HMMWV (for High-Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle) has become known as theHumvee. Joe Frazer, Willys-Overland President from 1939 to 1944, claimed to have coined the word jeep by slurring the initials G.P.
An alternative view launched by R. Lee Ermey, on his television series Mail Call, disputes this “slurred GP” origin, saying that the vehicle was designed for specific duties, and was never referred to as “General Purpose” and it is highly unlikely that the average jeep-driving GI would have been familiar with this designation. The Ford GPW abbreviation actually meant G for government use, P to designate its 80-inch (2,000 mm) wheelbase and W to indicate its Willys-Overland designed engine. Ermey suggests that soldiers at the time were so impressed with the new vehicles that they informally named it after Eugene the Jeep, a character in the Popeye comic strip and cartoons created by E. C. Segar, as early as mid-March 1936. Eugene the Jeep was Popeye’s “jungle pet” and was “small, able to move between dimensions and could solve seemingly impossible problems.”
The word jeep, however, was used as early as 1914 by US Army mechanics assigned to test new vehicles. In 1937, tractors which were supplied by Minneapolis Moline to the US Army were called jeeps. A precursor of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress was also referred to as the jeep.
Words of the Fighting Forces by Clinton A. Sanders, a dictionary of military slang, published in 1942, in the library at The Pentagon gives this definition:Jeep: A four-wheel drive vehicle of one-half- to one-and-one-half-ton capacity for reconnaissance or other army duty. A term applied to the bantam-cars, and occasionally to other motor vehicles (U.S.A.) in the Air Corps, the Link Trainer; in the armored forces, the ½-ton command vehicle. Also referred to as “any small plane, helicopter, or gadget.”
This definition is supported by the use of the term “jeep carrier” to refer to the Navy’s small escort carriers.
Early in 1941, Willys-Overland demonstrated the vehicle’s off-road capability by having it drive up the steps of the United States Capitol, driven by Willys test driver Irving “Red” Haussman, who had recently heard soldiers at Fort Holabird calling it a “jeep.” When asked by syndicated columnist Katharine Hillyer for the Washington Daily News (or by a bystander, according to another account) what it was called, Irving answered, “It’s a jeep.”
Katharine Hillyer’s article was published nationally on February 19, 1941, and included a picture of the vehicle with the caption:LAWMAKERS TAKE A RIDE- With Senator Meade, of New York, at the wheel, and Representative Thomas, of New Jersey, sitting beside him, one of the Army’s new scout cars, known as “jeeps” or “quads”, climbs up the Capitol steps in a demonstration yesterday. Soldiers in the rear seat for gunners were unperturbed.
Although the term was also military slang for vehicles that were untried or untested, this exposure caused all other jeep references to fade, leaving the 4×4 with the name.”
*Information from Jeep.com and Wikipedia.org
**Video published on YouTube by “Alux.com“