The legendary Jeep originally came to fame in World War II as a utility vehicle that was used for light recon during the war. Soldiers referred to the vehicle as a General Purpose vehicle or “GP” which phonetically sounds like “jeep”, at least this is the most received theory, though how the name came about is subject to speculation. Some believe it was named after Eugene the jeep, a magical creature form Popeye Comic fame that could go anywhere. How the name came about is not known but how the vehicle itself came about began in the early 20th century.
The company that would later be called Jeep started as the second largest vehicle manufacturer behind Ford during the period of 1912 to 1918. At that time, the company was called Wills-Overland. During the second world war, the company was involved in military projects and the manufacturer was one of two companies in the running for an Army contract. Though Willys lost the bid to American Bantam, later the Army went with Willy's and Ford because they did not believe American Bantam could keep up with the demand. Willys developed what was known as the Quad, which received a more powerful engine later. This design would evolve into the first Jeep which was originally called MB.
Though Willys applied to have the Jeep name trademarked, it would take seven years for it to be trademarked. It only became trademarked after Jeep vehicles became civilian vehicles. The seven-slot grille was another feature that was also trademarked, which was a change from the original military design which had a nine-slot grille.
Other designs came along to capitalize on the Jeep name, which included a station wagon in 1946, a truck in 1947, and the Jeepster in 1948. Kaiser motors became the owner of Willys later and that led to the renaming of the Jeep vehicles to Kaiser-Jeep. Then in 1970, American Motors Corporation (AMC) purchased the company. Chrysler also started purchasing assets at this time and that lead to a merger of AMC under the group name of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA).
Jeep today is easily one of the most recognized names in the automobile industry. Models pay homage to the legendary military vehicles of WWII by retaining the signature seven-slot grille as well as the capability of the early automobiles. The Jeep Wrangler is probably the model most recognized, but it is only one in the line.
The most awarded SUV in North America is the Jeep Grand Cherokee, which now offers the L designation for those buyers that want three rows of seating. This model draws a different type of buyer than the Wrangler while the smaller Jeep Cherokee is a SUV built for highway or city driving and even off-roading.
In addition to the well-known SUVs, Jeep’s only truck and open-air model, the Jeep Gladiator, has been gaining popularity in recent years. Jeep has also recently reintroduced the rugged Wagoneer model for buyers who favor rugged durability. In the future, like most manufacturers, Jeep is planning on turning more attention to alternate fuel models like the Wrangler 4xe. If you are interested in purchasing a Jeep model, come by your local Stanley Automotive Finance Enterprise dealership for Dallas, Andrews and Gilmer and let us work with you to get you a financing package that is custom made for your budget.