The Jeep brand

The Jeep brand

jeep logoJeep is a United States automobile marque with roots going back to World War II. Today, it is owned by the multinational corporation Stellantis N.V., but the Jeep marque is still headquartered in Toledo, Ohio, United States. That is where the headquarters have been ever since Willys-Overland launched production of the first Civilian Jeep (CJ) in 1945.

Today, Jeep´s product range only contains sport utility vehicles (SUVs). In the past, Jeep has also manufactured small vans and few roadsters.

The current product range contains both fully off-road SUVs and models that fall into the crossover category. There is only one pickup truck; the others are not pickups.

Jeep is especially popular in its native North America, and it became Fiat-Chrysler´s best-selling marque in the U.S. during the first half of 2017. There are around 2,400 dealerships in the U.S. that hold franchise rights to sell Jeep-branded vehicles.


The term jeep is older than the brand Jeep. Prior to World War II, the term jeep was U.S. Army slang for new recruits or vehicles. In 1941, the term was picked up and specifically tied to a new light military 4×4 vehicle produced for the Army.

After its launch, the Jeep became the primary light 4×4 vehicle for the United States Armed Forces and the other Allies during WWII. Nearly 30% of all Jeeps were supplied to Great Britain and to the Soviet Red Army.

During World War II, Willys-Overland and Ford produced around 640,000 Jeeps for the war effort, and this was roughly 18% of all wheeled military vehicles built in the U.S. during the war. Every service of the U.S. military used Jeeps during the war, and an average of 145 Jeeps were sent to every Army infantry regiment.

Examples of tasks carried out using Jeeps:

  • Field ambulance
  • Fire-fighting
  • Tractor
  • Laying cable
  • Sawmilling

When fitted with suitable wheels, the Jeeps could even run on railway tracks.

The amphibious Jeep

Ford built a modest number of the model GPA amphibious Jeep – also known as the Seep (Sea Jeep). It never became very popular, because it was neither a good off-road vehicle nor a good boat.

After WWII

After the war, a lot of Jeeps were sold off to civilians who could purchase them on the surplus market. The Jeep remained very important during this era, and served as inspiration for the British Land Rover and several other off-road vehicles produced around the world during the post-war epoch.

The first Jeep built for the civilian market was the Jeep CJ from Willys. The first prototypes for a commercial version of the Jeep were constructed by Willys-Overland in 1944, before the war was even over. It had a separate body and frame, a tapering nose design, a fold-flat windshield, flared fenders, and rigid live axles with leaf springs both front and rear.

The Jeep CJ was not retired until 1986, when over 1.5 million CJ Jeeps had been built. Throughout the years, many different models of the CJ line had been created, but the basic body style had remained the same for over 40 years.

When the Jeep CJ (more specifically, the Jeep CJ-7) was retired, it was replaced with the Jeep Wrangler.