Within the early summer time of 1940, the Ford Mannequin Ts – which had been modified for army use as mild transport and reconnaissance automobiles – have been growing older rapidly. To alleviate them from service, the Common Employees of the USA Military summoned all producers within the nation and urged them to develop a brand new car for the armed forces.
A minimum of 135 producers responded to the decision and entered a fierce battle to win the federal government contract. The calls for on them weren’t easy: the military wanted a lightweight reconnaissance car that needed to measure lower than 6.3 ft and weigh lower than 1,300 kilos. Such a car would require glorious maneuverability and 4×4 transmission to have the ability to function on any type of terrain. On high of all of this, it needed to be straightforward to disassemble and restore, given the turbulent nature of struggle.
With such a fancy guidelines, of all of the bids submitted, solely three vehicle producers made it to the ultimate stage of the ruthless choice course of: the Ford Motor Firm, Willys-Overland Motors and the American Bantam Automotive Firm. The competitors was initially received by Bantam, however after a number of flaws have been discovered within the firm’s take a look at fashions and manufacturing capability, the contract was finally awarded to the Ohio-based Willys-Overland.
This firm, based in 1908 by the American vehicle pioneer John Willys, completed growing and perfecting the prototype requested by the military and rapidly started mass manufacturing. Output elevated at an exponential charge after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, which noticed the USA enter World Conflict II. Willy-Overland’s new army car made its debut in an enormous manner, because it was utilized in a number of decisive army actions in Europe, Africa and Asia because the Allies fought to push again towards the Axis Powers.
Though the mannequin was initially referred to as MA and later MB, it quickly grew to become referred to as “Jeep.” The precise origin of this title is unsure, though probably the most accepted model is that Jeep comes from the shortening of the phrases “normal function” – army language used to consult with multipurpose reconnaissance automobiles. One other idea says that it was named after Eugene the Jeep, a personality within the Popeye the Sailor cartoons, which have been very talked-about on the time.
It didn’t take lengthy for Jeeps to grow to be extremely appreciated and well-known, amongst each Allied troops and civilians, who noticed them in motion on the information and in press photographs. As an example, throughout Operation Overlord in 1944, when Allied forces stormed the coast of Normandy in northwestern France, Jeeps have been prevalent in lots of the pictures.
On the finish of the struggle, in 1945, greater than 368,000 Jeeps had been produced. In 1950, Wyllis-Overland determined to patent the casual title. Benefiting from the success and recognition that it had achieved as a army car, the producer determined to remodel it right into a civilian one. The consequence was an off-road automotive that was baptized as CJ-2A – “CJ” stood for “civilian Jeep.”
In 1953, Willys-Overland merged with Kaiser Motors, a Michigan-based automotive maker. The brand new firm was referred to as Kaiser Jeep. Eight years later, the Wagoneer appeared, a bigger model of the Jeep, constructed for households. It had an automated gearbox to make driving on metropolis roads extra easy.
The mannequin – the predecessor to modern-day SUVs – instantly achieved excessive gross sales in the USA, due to its mixture of ruggedness with the consolation of a high-end sedan. By 1984, it launched the Grand Wagoneer, a bigger and even better-equipped mannequin. Nevertheless, the model didn’t utterly depart from its army origins.
In 1986, the well-known Jeep Wrangler was launched – a direct development of the compact World Conflict II mannequin, however extra modern, meant for each day use in each city and rural areas. It’s at the moment in its fourth era.
Jeep has at all times adopted the identical philosophy: to supply extremely environment friendly off-road SUVs, however to additionally make them snug. Subsequent fashions have continued to strengthen the gross sales and status of the model. When the Cherokee arrived within the mid-Nineteen Seventies – designed with a contemporary and bigger physique – it was rapidly improved upon. The Grand Cherokee got here out in 1993, providing a higher-end choice to drivers.
Within the current century, the Jeep vary consists of numerous fashions: from the Compass to the Patriot, from the Renegade to the Gladiator. There are pickups appropriate for these working within the development trades and luxurious classes for enterprise travellers.
All through its historical past, the Jeep model has modified arms quite a few instances. In 1970, the corporate was acquired by the American Motors Company (AMC); 5 years later, it got here underneath the administration of Renault. After the French producer did not carry declining gross sales, Chrysler grew to become the brand new proprietor in 1985.
Extra not too long ago, in 2014, with the creation of the brand new Italian-American manufacturing group FCA (Fiat Chrysler Vehicles), all manufacturers owned by Fiat and Chrystler have been introduced collectively, together with Jeep. In 2021, FCA would merge with the PSA group (proprietor of the Peugeot and Citroën manufacturers) and rename itself Stellantis. This gave rise to the world’s fourth-largest vehicle producer, solely behind Volkswagen, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz.
Beneath the administration of Stellantis, the Jeep model is now within the strategy of electrification. Jeep’s first 100% electrical SUV, the Avenger, shall be launched on the finish of 2022.