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The term Jeep is an automobile marque that is currently registered to DaimlerChrysler and was obtained by DaimlerChrysler when DaimlerBenz merged with Chrysler. Jeep has become a generic trademark similar too other brands such as Band Aid and Xerox. The term first became popular with military vehicles that were used during the second world war and produced by both Ford Motor Company and a number of other companies for the United States Army. The standard Jeep is a four wheel drive car of 1 to 1.5 ton capacity that can be used by the Army for reconnaissance. SUVs are often referred to as Jeeps as well.
The first prototype Jeep was built for the Department of the Army by a company called American Bantam. Initial quantities of 1500 of each of three models were extensively field tested. Willys Overland was able to win a subsequent bid for 16,000 Jeeps and designed what became known as a standardized Jeep. Willies Overland was a small company and there was some concern by the government about capacity and also only having one plant manufacturing these vehicles. As a result the US government also allowed jeeps to be built by the Ford Motor Company. The Ford Motor Company subsequently produced more than 600,000 vehicles during World War II. The Jeep has been widely copied in many countries around the world.
The Jeep marque has gone through many owners beginning in 1941 with Willys Overland who produced the first civilian Jeep. Willies was sold to Kaiser in 1953 and the Kaiser Jeep was born. In 1970 American motors bought the company and then Chrysler Corp. purchased American motors in 1987. The sub-brand names, Jeep CJ and Jeep Wrangler or YJ were born.
The Jeep Wrangler which is also known as the YJ and TJ was brought into production in 1987 and updated in 1997 and is still in production today. Other models of the traditional Jeep include the CJ, and a new planned TK. The crossover and Patriot or also planned for the 2007 timeframe. In addition to the traditional Jeep line up are mid SUVs, and large SUVs. These include the Jeep Cherokee, the Jeep Wagoneer XJ and the Jeep Commander. Jeep also produces pickups and trucks in models such as the Gladiator, the Honcho and the Comanche. All of these models have the Jeep traditional brand-name and have the beginning associated with the World War II efforts.
Many customers purchase a Jeep for the so-called cool effect, as well as for serious off-road competitions. Many people enjoy the high riding style of a Jeep and the ability to remove the cap and are comfortable using a Jeep to go back and forth to work. Many customers also enjoy taking their Jeep into off-road situations that require four-wheel-drive and higher clearance to navigate many of the off-road trails.