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Officially becoming a company in 1943, Jeep began as a joint effort between the American Bantam Car Company and Willys-Overland, producing vehicles for the US military during World War II. They are best known for creating the predecessor to the modern SUV and mass producing light 4-wheel-drive vehicles for the Allied forces (during both World War II and the post-war period). The first commercial jeeps were produced in 1945, and Jeep persisted as its own brand until being acquired by Chrysler in 1987.
The first model of Jeep, the Bantam BRC 40, was not available for civilian purchase and was built for military reconnaissance. The first civilian Jeep was the 1945 CJ-2A, originally costing $1200; this would be $18,065 in current value. Today, Jeep primarily makes trucks, SUVs, and off-road vehicles. The current Jeep models include the Wrangler, Grand Cherokee, Compass, Gladiator, Wagoneer, and Renegade. Jeep’s highest sales was when it sold 929,446 units in 2016.
Jeep recently announced its line of plug-in hybrid vehicles and plans to go fully electric by 2025. They intend to create full-electric, zero-emissions batteries with a range of 500 miles. Jeep also announced they want to build solar power charging stations at off-roading trailheads and a fully online store to make purchasing vehicles and accessories more convenient. The company also intends to introduce fully autonomous off-roading driving technology to their vehicles, though they have not announced a definite date for this project.