Jeep Make Overview
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Older Jeep Models
|Jeep CJ||Jeep CJ3B||Jeep CJ5|
|Jeep CJ7||Jeep CJ8||Jeep Comanche|
|Jeep Gladiator||Jeep Grand Wagoneer||Jeep Wagoneer|
Jeep is an American car brand whose main product, the Jeep model, has become synonymous with exciting off-road exploration vehicles. The word Jeep is in fact routinely used all over the world as a synonym for an off-road vehicle, even to describe those cars which are perhaps better titled Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs).
Not surprisingly, the first Jeeps were built under contract for the U.S. military in the early 1940s. The first prototype was made by a company called Bantam, but Willys-Overland offered a better engine and a lower bid to win the contract. Because that company was very small, Ford helped produce the first Jeeps to meet the high demand of the military. From this humble beginning, Jeep, currently a subsidiary of Daimler/Chrysler, has emerged, changing from owner to owner, but never wavering in its dedication to the perfect off-road, rugged vehicle (though recent Jeeps strive to combine comfort and functionality).
Jeep was owned by Willys-Overland when they won the contract for the U.S. army. Kaiser bought Willys in 1953 and Jeep along with it. In 1970, American Motor Company purchased Jeep from Kaiser, and then itself was bought out by Chrysler in 1987. The switching of hands stopped when Daimler-Benz and Chrysler joined to form DaimlerChrysler.
Jeep has produced a number of familiar SUVs, many of which are still around. The face of Jeep will most likely always be that of the Wrangler, the tiny convertible SUV that grew a couple of extra doors in very late 2006 for the 2007 models. Originally built for military use, the small SUV has a near-cult following that drives these rugged vehicles on and off road, waving to one another as they pass.
Jeep has a number of other small SUV's, including the newer Liberty, the classic Cherokee, the brand-new Compass and Patriot.
While the Cherokee may be considered a "classic Jeep," the newer vehicles are gaining in popularity as they compete with such small SUVs as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. Luxuries such as leather seats and great sound systems help give these little trucks a boost in the market.
Jeep isn't just about the little guy, of course. The classic Commander helped paved the way for SUVs in the general market. The Wagoneer had an impressive run of 28 years in production before morphing into the Cherokee. Out of the Cherokee grew the bigger Grand Cherokee, an extremely popular choice among those looking for a more rugged SUV.
After the war many Jeeps were sold as surplus, and many people wanted a tough reliable vehicle, so Willys took advantage of this and started the universal CJ line (CJ-2A, CJ-3B). The CJ line was continued by Kaiser and AMC (CJ-5, CJ-6, CJ-7, CJ-8).
Lastly, Jeep rounds out its line with the Comanche, its pickup truck. The unibody construction of this truck makes it one of the more rugged still out there today.
Jeeps are one of the most recognizable vehicles on the road today, with their distinctive and common body shape. Synonymous with the words off-road and adventure, the Jeep has inspired the imaginations of people everywhere, helping them to conquer otherwise unconquerable terrain. But Jeeps are also known for their family appeal, their ability to safely and comfortably get your children to hockey practice with all of their gear, or bring as many groceries as you can eat in a month home in one trip. Truly, there is a Jeep to fit just about any person, no matter what they need a vehicle for. In business for 65 years already, Jeep is still going strong.