From ArticleWorld

Jeep is the registered trademark and automobile marque of the Daimler Chrysler Corporation. The military definition of the word jeep is as follows: A four wheel-drive car of one-half to one-and-one-half ton capacity for reconnaissance or other army duty. Since the jeep was first designed for use in the army during WWII, the definition is significant. Currently Daimler-Chrysler mass produces the Jeep brand for civilian consumers. It has the distinction of being the first sport utility vehicle (SUV)


There are many ideas as to how the name jeep came about. Two such stories, while interesting and possible, aren't correct.

1.Many think that the vehicle was considered a General Purpose vehicle, GP for short. GP was slurred phonetically into jeep. Plausible though the story is, it isn't true. 2.Another well-known legend about the names origin derives from the Popeye comic strip character Eugene the Jeep. Eugene the jeep was able to walk through walls, climb ceilings and trees and generally go where it wanted whenever it wanted. It seems that the versatility of vehicle matched that of Eugene the Jeep so it was nicknamed for the character. Again, a great story but not true.

More likely the term came during the First World War. New recruits as well as new machinery, including vehicles, were termed jeeps. It was a slang term used for airplanes and tractors as well. When the jeep first came to the military it was new and unproven. Soldiers termed it jeep just like they would anything else that was new. Civilians who engineered the vehicle didn't know military slang and thus began calling the vehicle a jeep. The name stuck.


American Bantam built the first jeep prototype for the Department of the Army. Two other prototypes were built by Ford and Willys-Overland. American Bantam built the vehicle to exact specifications the Army set and was considered the overall best out of the three prototypes. However, the Army felt that the company was too small to be able to meet the production demand so they allowed both Ford and Willys to remake their initial design. The three prototypes were tested extensively and the contract to build 16,000 jeeps went to the lowest bidder, Willys. Because Willys was a small company like Bantam, the Army ordered that Ford built the jeeps as well. The combined production effort produced over 6,000,000 vehicles.