Jeep is a division of Chrysler Group LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Italian automaker Fiat. Chrysler Corporation acquired the Jeep from American Motors, in 1987. Jeep's current products consist of sport utility vehicles and off-road vehicles. In 1950, Willys obtained a United States Trademark Registration for Jeep. Since then, ownership has passed from Willys-Overland, to Kaiser, to American Motors Corporation, to Chrysler Corporation, to DaimlerChrysler, and most recently Fiat.
A popular belief is that Jeep derived it’s name from "GP" short for "general purpose. Others have suggested that it was a nickname from a character in the Popeye comic strip of that time. For now, the name's origin remains a mystery.
Jeep started in WWII as a four-wheel-drive military vehicle for the U.S. Army. In the mid-1940s they introduced the first civilian Jeep. It was targeted mainly toward farmers and construction workers, and it offered many features not available on the military versions, like a tailgate, an external fuel cap and a side-mounted spare tire.
The ever popular CJ-5 was introduced in the 1950’s, and it had the distinction of having a 30 year production, the longest of any Jeep vehicle. The Wagoneer debuted in the 1960’s, and was geared toward families. It was the first four-wheel-drive vehicle equipped with an automatic transmission. The 1970s, Jeep brought new models like the CJ-7 and the Scrambler. The Cherokee and Wrangler skyrocketed in popularity in the 1980’s. Then with considerably more comfort and luxury, while still maintaining a stout off-road capability, the midsize Grand Cherokee, debuted in 1993. Their newest models include a 4 door Wrangler and the Grand Cherokee SRT-8.