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Jeep is an automobile marque of Chrysler LLC. The marque, like all other Chrysler subsidiaries, became part of DaimlerChrysler when Daimler-Benz merged with the Chrysler Corporation in 1998. Jeep, like Band-Aid and Xerox, is a generic trademark. Unlike Band-Aid and Xerox, however, the name jeep did not start out as a trademark. The term was first applied to a military vehicle, the Bantam BRC, versions of which were produced by Willys-Overland and Ford Motor Company for the Allies during World War II. The term is also used to refer generically to what are now known as SUVs, whether the vehicle in question bears the Jeep nameplate or not.

Roads that are only suitable for off-road vehicles are often called jeep trails. The most famous is the Rubicon Trail located near Lake Tahoe in central California.


The origin of the term jeep

2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee

There are many stories about where the name "jeep" came from. The following two although they make for interesting and memorable stories, aren't quite accurate.

Probably the most popular notion has it that the vehicle bore the designation "GP" (for "General Purpose"), which was phonetically slurred into the word jeep. R. Lee Ermey, on his television series Mail Call, disputes this, saying that the vehicle was designed for specific duties, was never referred to as "General Purpose," and that the name may have been derived from Ford's nomenclature referring to the vehicle as GP (G for government-use, and P to designate its 80-inch-wheelbase). "General purpose" does appear in connection with the vehicle in the WW2 TM 9-803 manual, which describes the vehicle as "... a general purpose, personnel, or cargo carrier especially adaptable for reconnaisance or command, and designated as 1/4-ton 4x4 Truck", and the vehicle is designated a "GP" in TM 9-2800, Standard Military Motor Vehicles, 1 September, 1943, but whether the average jeep-driving GI would have been familiar with either of these manuals is open to debate.

Many, including Ermey, claim that the more likely origin is a reference to a character from the Thimble Theater (Popeye) comic strip known as Eugene the Jeep. Eugene the Jeep was a dog-like character who could walk through walls and ceilings, climb trees, fly, and just about go anywhere it wanted; it is thought that soldiers at the time were so impressed with the new vehicle's versatility that they informally named it after the character.

The manuals quoted were published in 1943. The character of "Eugene the Jeep" was created in 1936. The first common use of the term "jeep" predates both of these by roughly 20 years. It was during World War I that soldiers used "jeep" as a slang word for new recruits as well as new, unproven vehicles. This is according to a history of the vehicle for an issue of the U.S. Army magazine, Quartermaster Review, which was written by Maj. E. P. Hogan. He went on to say that the slang word had these definitions as late as the start of World War II.

The term would eventually be used as slang to refer to an airplane, a tractor used for hauling heavy equipment, and an autogyro. When the first models of the jeep came to Camp Holabird for tests, the vehicle didn't have a name yet. Therefore the soldiers on the test project called it a jeep. Civilian engineers and test drivers who were at the camp during this time were not aware of the military slang term. They most likely were familiar with the character of Eugene the Jeep and therefore began to credit Eugene with the name. The vehicle had many other nicknames at this time such as Peep, Pygmy, and Blitz-Buggy although because of the Eugene association, Jeep stuck in people's minds better than any other term.

Words of the Fighting Forces by Clinton A. Sanders, a dictionary of military slang, published in 1942, in the library at The Pentagon gives the following definition:

Jeep: A four-wheel drive car 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 1/2 ton command car. Also referred to as "any small plane, helicopter, or gadget."

The term went into widespread public use because of a syndicated news column written by Kathryn Hillyer who was working for the Washington Daily News. Hillyer had been assigned to cover a publicity stunt and Senate photo op where the jeep was presented to the public. The Army brought a jeep to the Capitol in order for it to climb the front steps of the building and show off the vehicle's power. When test driver Irving "Red" Housman was asked by a bystander "What is this thing?" he responded simply with "It's a jeep." Hillyer heard this and used the name in her column which was printed around the country.

The origins of the vehicle: the first jeeps

Bantam BRC 40

The first jeep prototype (the Bantam BRC) was built for the Department of the Army by the Butler, PA based American Austin Car Company|American Bantam, followed by two other competing prototypes produced by Ford and Willys-Overland. The American Bantam Car Company actually built and designed the vehicle that first met the Army's criteria, but the Army felt that the company was too small to supply the number needed and it allowed Willys and Ford to make second attempts on their designs after seeing Bantam's vehicle in action. Some people believe that Ford and Willys also had access to Bantam's technical paperwork. Quantities (1500) of each of the three models were then extensively field tested. During the bidding process for 16,000 "jeeps", Willys-Overland offered the lowest bid and won the initial contract. Willys thus designed what would become the standardized jeep, designating it a model MB  military vehicle and building it at their plant in Toledo, Ohio.

WWII Willys jeep

Like American Bantam, Willys-Overland was a small company and, likewise, the military was concerned about their ability to produce large quantities of the vehicle. The military was also concerned about Willys-Overland's single manufacturing facility — something that would make the newly-produced military vehicle's factory even more susceptible to sabotage or production stoppages.

WWII Ford designed jeep

Based on these two concerns, the U.S. government required that jeeps also be built by the Ford Motor Company, who designated the vehicle as model GPW  (G  indicated a governmental vehicle, P  indicated the wheelbase, and W  referred to the Willys design). Combined production by Willys and Ford, under the direction of Charles E. Sorensen, (Vice-President of Ford during World War II) produced more than 600,000 vehicles.

The jeep was widely copied in countries around the world, including in France by Hotchkiss et Cie, after 1954, Hotchkiss manufactured Jeeps under licence from Willys and by Nekaf in the Netherlands. There were several different versions created, including a railway jeep and an amphibious jeep. As part of the war effort, Jeeps were also supplied to the Soviet Red Army during World War II.

In the United States military, the jeep has been supplanted by a number of vehicles, e.g., Ford's M151, nicknamed the Mutt, of which the latest is the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle ("Humvee").

The Jeep marque

A division of Chrysler, the most recent successor company to Willys, now holds trademark status on the word "Jeep" and the distinctive 7 slot front grille design. The original 9 slot grill associated with all WW2 jeeps was designed by Ford for their GPW, and because it weighed less than the original "Slat Grill" of Willys, (an arrangement of flat bars) was incorporated into the "Standardized jeep" design.

The marque has gone through many owners, starting in 1941 with Willys, which produced the first Civilian Jeep (CJ). Willys was sold to Kaiser in 1953, which became Kaiser-Jeep in 1963. American Motors bought the company in 1970. The Chrysler Corporation bought out AMC in 1987, shortly after the Jeep CJ was replaced with the AMC-designed Jeep Wrangler or YJ. , Chrysler merged with Daimler-Benz in 1998 to form DaimlerChrysler. having disasterous results. diamler diluted the brandname. after they were done sucking the blood from chrysler in general they sold it to the quick flip investment company cerberus. which invested little in product development. after a quick bankruptcy chrysler old carco sold jeep the chrysler group llc which is owned as followed. 55% uaw 20% Fiat S.p.a 12% us government 8% canadian government with fiat able to increase its stake to 35% after meeting a number of goals set by the bankruptcy court.

Jeep vehicles are also produced in Beijing, China, by Beijing Jeep Corporation, Ltd., a joint venture between Beijing Automobile Industry Corporation, DaimlerChrysler and DaimlerChrysler China Invest Corporation, established on January 15, 1984.

Jeep vehicles have "model designations" in addition to their common names. Nearly every civilian Jeep has a 'xJ' designation, though not all are as well-known as the classic CJ.

Product Gallery

Jeep Lineup

Historical models

Historical Jeep models:

  • Jeep CJ (MB — GPW, CJ-2A, -3A, -3B, -4, -5, -6, -7, -8) — All similar to the original Willys' body style. CJ stands for "Civilian Jeep."
    • 1940-1941 Jeep US Army, Military WWII. Bantam BRC
    • 1941-1945 Jeep US Army, Military WWII. Willys MA, MB — Ford GP, GPW GPA
    • 1947-1949 CJ-2A
    • 1949-1953 CJ-3A
    • 1950-1952 Jeep US Army, Military Korea. Willys MC, M38
    •  ::::1952 Jeep US Army, Military Korea. Willys/Kaiser Jeep International MD, M38A1, M170
    • 1953-1968 CJ-3B
    • 1961-1969 Jeep US Army, Military Vietnam. Ford/AM General M151, M151A1, M151A2, M422, M422A1
    • 1955-1983 CJ-5
    • 1955-1981 CJ-6 — stretched CJ-5
    • 1976-1986 CJ-7
    • 1981-1986 CJ-8
    • 1981-1985 CJ-10pickup truck
  • 1963-1970 Jeep Gladiator (SJ) — Full-size pickup truck
  • 1970s Jeep Honcho (SJ) — Full-size pickup truck
  • Jeep Dispatcher (DJ5 - models 'A' through 'F') — A right-hand drive, single seat postal truck for the United States Postal Service
  • Jeep Jeepster — Passenger vehicle
    • 1948-1950 VJ — Willys Jeepster
    • 1966-1971 C101 — Jeepster Commando
    • 1972-1973 C104 — Jeep Commando
  • 1956-1965 Jeep Forward Control — Light truck
    • FC-150
    • FC-170
  • 1963-1991 Jeep WagoneerSUV
    • 1963-1983 SJ
    • 1984-2001 XJ Mid-size Cherokee/Wagoneer
  • 1986-1992 MJ Mid-size pickup truck based on the XJ Cherokee
  • 1984-1991 Jeep Grand Wagoneer — Upscale full-size SUV

Current models

The Jeep brand currently produces 6, with all of them set to be replaced within the next 24 months as of 2010:

See Also

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The Fiat Group

Abarth | Alfa Romeo | Autobianchi | Fiat | Lancia | Innocenti | Maserati | Iveco | Chrysler | Dodge | Ram | Jeep


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SUVs/Trucks: CJ Series · CJ-2A · CJ-3A · CJ-3B · CJ-7/8 · Wrangler YJ · Wrangler TJ · CJ-10 · VJ · C101 · C104 · Wagoneer XJ · Wagoneer SJ · Grand Wagoneer · Gladiator · J-Series · Comanche · Forward Control · Cherokee SJ-XJ · Commander · DJ · DJ Postal · Jeepster Commando · FJ · Willys Jeep Truck · Willys Jeep Wagon · Rural (Brazil) · Honcho · Grand Cherokee SRT8 · Liberty · Patriot


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C101 Commando Hurst Edition


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SRT · Mopar · HEMI · Jeep four wheel drive systems · List of Jeep axles · List of Jeep transfer cases · Jeep Transmisson Info · List of Jeep engines · AMC and Jeep transmissions · Toledo Complex · Belvidere Assembly Plant · Jeep portal

Unknown Corporate website A division of Fiat S.p.A

External links

Official sites

Non-official sites


  • Jeep, written by Jim Allen, published in 2001 by MBI Publishing Company
  • Standard catalog of JEEP, written by Patrick Foster, published in 2003 by Krause Publications