AskDefine | Define jeep

Dictionary Definition

jeep n : a car suitable for traveling over rough terrain [syn: landrover]

User Contributed Dictionary

see Jeep



Possibly from the little comic-strip animal on Popeye, or an alteration of G.P., standing for "general purpose", or both.


  • , /dʒiːp/, /dZi:p/
  • Rhymes: -iːp


  1. A small, blocky, military-style vehicle with four-wheel drive, suited to rough terrain.






Extensive Definition

Jeep is an automobile marque (and registered trademark) of Chrysler. It is the oldest sport utility vehicle (SUV) brand, with Land Rover coming in a close second.


The origins of the vehicle: the first jeeps

The first jeep prototype (the Bantam BRC) was built for the Department of the Army by American Bantam in Butler, Pennsylvania, followed by two other competing prototypes produced by Ford and Willys-Overland. The American Bantam Car Company actually built and designed the vehicle that first met the Army's criteria, but its engine did not meet the Army's torque requirements. Plus, the Army felt that the company was too small to supply the number needed and it allowed Willys and Ford to make second attempts on their designs after seeing Bantam's vehicle in action. Some people believe that Ford and Willys also had access to Bantam's technical paperwork.
Quantities (1,500) of each of the three models were then extensively field tested. During the bidding process for 16,000 "jeeps," Willys-Overland offered the lowest bid and won the initial contract. Willys thus designed what would become the standardized jeep, designating it a model MB military vehicle and building it at their plant in Toledo, Ohio.
Like American Bantam, Willys-Overland was a small company and, likewise, the military was concerned about their ability to produce large quantities of jeeps. The military was also concerned that Willys-Overland had only one manufacturing facility: something that would make the supply of jeeps more susceptible to sabotage or production stoppages.
Based on these two concerns, the U.S. government required that jeeps also be built by the Ford Motor Company, who designated the vehicle as model GPW (G = governmental vehicle, P showed the wheelbase, and W = the Willys design). Willys and Ford, under the direction of Charles E. Sorensen (Vice-President of Ford during World War II), produced more than 600,000 jeeps. Besides just being a "truck" the jeep was used for many other purposes.
The jeep was widely copied around the world, including in France by Hotchkiss et Cie (after 1954, Hotchkiss manufactured Jeeps under licence from Willys). There were several versions created, including a railway jeep and an amphibious jeep. As part of the war effort, Jeeps were also supplied to the Soviet Red Army during World War II.During the jeep's service in Korea the name was referred to as "Just Enough Essential Parts" by the troops due to the very basic design.
In the United States military, the jeep has been supplanted by a number of vehicles (e.g. Ford's M151 MUTT) of which the latest is the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV or "Humvee").
The M715
In 1965, Jeep developed the M715 1.25 ton army truck, which served extensively in Vietnam. Today it serves other countries, and is still being produced by Kia under license.

The Jeep marque

The marque has gone through many owners, starting in 1941 with Willys, which produced the first Civilian Jeep (CJ). Willys was sold to Kaiser in 1953, which became Kaiser-Jeep in 1963. American Motors (AMC) purchased Kaiser’s money-losing Jeep operations in 1970. The utility vehicles complemented AMC’s passenger car business by sharing components, achieving volume efficiencies, as well as capitalizing on Jeep’s international and government markets.
The French automaker Renault began investing in AMC in 1979. However, by 1987, the automobile markets had changed and even Renault itself was experiencing financial troubles. At the same time, Chrysler Corporation wanted to capture the Jeep brand, as well as other assets of AMC. Chrysler bought out AMC in 1987, shortly after the Jeep CJ was replaced with the AMC-designed Jeep Wrangler or YJ. Chrysler merged with Daimler-Benz in 1998 to form DaimlerChrysler. DaimlerChrysler eventually sold most of their interest in Chrysler to a private equity company in 2007. Chrysler and the Jeep division now operate under the name Chrysler Holding LLC.
Toledo, Ohio has been the headquarters of the Jeep marque since its inception, and the city has always been proud of this heritage. Although no longer produced in the same factory as the World War II originals, two streets in the vicinity of the old plant are named Willys Parkway and Jeep Parkway.
American Motors set up the first automobile-manufacturing joint venture in the People's Republic of China on January 15, 1984 . The result was Beijing Jeep Corporation, Ltd., in partnership with Beijing Automobile Industry Corporation, to produce the Jeep Cherokee (XJ) in Beijing. Manufacture continued after Chrysler's buyout of AMC. This joint venture is now part of DaimlerChrysler and DaimlerChrysler China Invest Corporation. The original 1984 XJ model was updated and called the "Jeep 2500" toward the end of its production that ended after 2005.
Jeep vehicles have "model designations" in addition to their common names. Nearly every civilian Jeep until the mid-2000s has an 'xJ' designation, though not all are as well-known as the classic CJ. Chrysler has now changed to an "xK" designation.
A division of Chrysler Holdings, the most recent successor company to Willys, now holds trademark status on the name "Jeep" and the distinctive 7-slot front grille design. The original 9-slot grille associated with all WW2 jeeps was designed by Ford for their GPW, and because it weighed less than the original "Slat Grille" of Willys, (an arrangement of flat bars) was incorporated into the "standardized jeep" design.
AM General
The history of the Humvee has ties with Jeep. In 1971, Jeep's Defense and Government Products Division was turned into AM General, a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Motors Corporation, which also owned Jeep. In 1979, while still owned by American Motors, AM General began the first steps toward designing the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle. AM General also continued manufacturing the DJ, which Jeep created in 1953.

Off-Road Abilities

Jeeps have always been known for their abilities off-road, and their popularity endures. Today, the Wrangler is the only light-duty vehicle offered in North America with solid axles front and rear. These axles are known for their durability due to their overall strength and lack of rubber boots to get torn on twigs and rocks. Solid-axled vehicles also generally articulate better, especially when traversing ruts. Even the two wheel drive models are equipped with "solid" axles in the front.
Another plus of solid axle vehicles is they tend to be easier and cheaper to "lift." This "lifting" increases the distance between the center of the axle hub and chassis of the vehicle. By increasing this distance, larger tires can be installed, which will increase the ground clearance of the Jeep, allowing it to traverse even larger and more difficult obstacles. Jeep is also known as a symbol of freedom because of the capacity of going almost everywhere. Many people equip theirs with roll-bars, extra lights, and maybe a winch to pull the vehicle out from the mud or sand when stuck.
Useful features of the smaller Jeeps are their short wheelbases, narrow frames, and great approach, breakover, and departure angles, allowing them to fit places where full - sized trucks could never go.

Jeep events

The Jeep Jamboree

Jamborees are two-day off-road events held throughout the year in which Jeep owners can bring their friends and families to meet other Jeepers, tour scenic trails, and test the limits of their vehicles. Any Jeep with a low-range transfer case is allowed, although Full Size Jeeps require prior approval. Only registered participants are allowed to take part in the trail rides and activities; no spectators are allowed. Participants can choose to camp at a local campground, stay in a motel, or find other lodging. The day starts off with breakfast, followed by a general meeting that discusses the trail of the day, as well as the driving techniques required. The trail run is concluded by sundown. Thirty Jamborees are planned for 2008.

Camp Jeep

Camp Jeep is an annual, three-day, multi-activity oriented event which includes mountain biking, fishing, kayaking, tubing, arts and crafts, and performances by top bands. Children are encouraged to participate as much as adults (events permitting). Man-made obstacle courses are also offered, as well as trail rides (although the latter must be reserved in advance). "Jeep 101" courses are offered for people just getting started in the off-road world, with experienced guides demonstrating proper driving techniques and the vehicles' 4x4 systems. There is no actual camping at Camp Jeep; participants may camp locally or stay at a motel.

Jeep related words


Jeeping is a popular verb used to describe the action and effect of driving a Jeep (mostly on difficult terrain), which was created to differentiate off-roading from street-driving.


Jeeper is a popular name given to someone who owns and "drives" a Jeep off-road; a Jeep enthusiast.

Jeep model list

Historical models

Historical Jeep models:

Current models

The Jeep brand currently produces six models:
  • Jeep Wrangler
    • JK — The current version of the Wrangler, released as a 2007 model.
    • JK — The long wheelbase, 4-door version of the 2007 Wrangler.
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee — Large family-oriented SUV.
    • WK — The newest Grand Cherokee, 2005-present ("WK" is the designator for the new Grand Cherokee, it is one of the few non-J-designated Jeeps).
    • 2005–present – Laredo
    • 2005–present – Limited
    • 2006–present – Overland
    • 2006–present – SRT-8
  • Jeep Liberty — KK — A small SUV (replaced the Cherokee and kept the name outside North America).
  • Jeep Commander — XK — Newest model in the Jeep line, it is a seven passenger SUV.
  • Jeep Compass — A small crossover SUV based on the Dodge Caliber.
  • Jeep Patriot — A small SUV based on the Dodge Caliber.

Special vehicles

Jeeps around the world

Jeeps have been built and/or assembled around the world by various companies.
  • Argentina - IKA Jeeps 1956-current; now owned by Chrysler
  • Australia - Willys Motors Australia - 1940s-1980s
  • Belgium -
  • Colombia - Willys Colombia - at least until 1999
  • Egypt -
  • France - Hotchkiss and Auverland - 1952-1962
  • India - Mahindra & Mahindra Limited - 1960s-current
  • Israel - Automotive Industries which produces the AIL Storm (Sufa) series of Jeep Wrangler-derivatives
  • Italy - 1950s
  • Japan - Mitsubishi Jeeps - 1953-1998
  • Korea - Asia Motors, Ltd and SsangYong Motor Company. (don't use Jeep name) - 1980s-current
  • Mexico - VAM Jeeps - 1946-1987
  • Netherlands - Nederlandse Kaiser-Frazer - 1954-1990s
  • Philippines - Jeepneys ; MD Juan
  • Portugal - Bravia - 1960s-1980s
  • Spain - VIASA, later sold to Nissan - 1960-1990s
  • Turkey - Tuzla - 1954-1970s


  • Jeep, written by Jim Allen, published in 2001 by MBI Publishing Company
  • Standard catalog of JEEP, written by Patrick Foster, published in 2003 by Krause Publications
jeep in Catalan: Jeep
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jeep in Serbian: Џип
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jeep in Chinese: 吉普汽車
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