About JeepOf the 135 manufacturers asked by the U.S. military to bid on a quarter-ton capacity, four-wheel drive "light-reconnaissance vehicle", only three responded--Bantam, Willys-Overland, and Ford. The original design came from Bantam, but there were government concerns that the company was too small. The contract eventually went to Willys, but Ford was given one as well to help meet vehicular demand. The famed slat grille design so commonly associated with Jeep was a Ford design. It weighed less than the Willys design and thus was incorporated into the standardized Jeep.
Jeep's civilian production began with the CJ-2A in 1945. A replacement, the CJ-3A, followed in 1950. The CJ-5, which was the longest running model in Jeep history, came out in 1954. It ended its run in 1983 after over 603,000 units were produced.
Kaiser Motors bought Willys in 1953. By 1963, Jeep offered 49 unique pickups, wagons, and SUVs. American Motors, the former supplier of Kaiser V8s, purchased Jeep in 1970 and reduced the number of available models from 38 to 22 by the next... View more year. The first new Jeep to come out under AMC was the Cherokee in '74. At that time, the lineup was down to nine models leading to less crossover and more sales. Along with the CJ series there was a DJ series, a two-wheel drive delivery version often used as mail carriers.
The first auto manufacturing joint venture in China was set up 1984. The Beijing Jeep Corporation was created in partnership between AMC and Beijing Automobile Industry Corp. The original Cherokee model received updates, but continued to be built until 2005.
The CJ series came to an end under Jeep division in 1987 when the Wrangler replaced it in the lineup. Revisions for the Wrangler came once a decade, in '97 and again in '07. With the '07 update, the Wrangler Unlimited appeared. Set on a longer wheelbase, it's the only such four-door vehicle available as a convertible.
After Chrysler's acquisition of AMC in 1987, the Jeep division was streamlined, paring out pickups and boosting the best sellers. The Grand Cherokee debuted in 1993, along with the one-year only Grand Wagoneer from the ZJ platform. The Grand Cherokee was given redesigns in '99 and '05, under the guidance of the Daimler-Chrysler Corp, while remaining the flagship model of the Jeep brand.
Jeep's replacement for the long-running Cherokee was the controversial Liberty. Some complaints came from the use of independent front suspension, others from the vehicle's appearance, but it went on to receive nomination for North American Truck of the Year and outsold expectations.
The Jeep corporate portfolio expanded into crossovers in 2007 with the Compass and Patriot. The Compass targeted first-time Jeep buyers not looking for any off-roading, while the Patriot was styled more as a traditional Jeep wagon with "Trail Rated" badging. View less
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