Jeep's 80 year anniversary: A look back at jeeps most memorable moments

by on July 23, 2021


Top 12 Moments In Jeep’s 80 Years

The first military Jeep vehicle was produced by the former Willys-Overland Co. on July 15, 1941. The Jeep brand is still thriving around the globe eighty years later. It has a product line that continues to grow into new segments and a dedicated community of global customers.

Christian Meunier is the Chief Executive Officer of Jeep Brand. He stated that we are celebrating our 80th year by moving forward and upward. We're expanding our product range into new segments with the three-row Jeep Grand Cherokee L. While establishing a strong foothold within the premium SUV market with our all-new Wagoneer, and Grand Wagoneer, we are also strengthening our position in the premium SUV segment. The all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee will be the next in our exciting global product line. It will feature plug-in hybrid 4xe technology for the first-time. We are committed to a zero-emission future and will offer a fully electric Jeep 4xe with zero emissions in every SUV segment by 2025.

The Jeep brand today posted the 80th anniversary version of the Jeep Life Electrified Video on YouTube. It was created during the 2021 Stellantis EV Day event. Through a love story, the video shows the unique nature electrification in the Jeep brand. This piece combines future technology and Jeep brand vehicles to create a promise of a brighter future. The piece features Bastille's new song, "Give Me The Future," out today.

We are determined to make Jeep the most environmentally-friendly and exciting SUV brand. The electrification will enable commuters to travel on only electric power. This will provide a fun and efficient on-road experience, as well as allowing them to enjoy more off-road capabilities in almost complete silence," stated Meunier.

This milestone is yet another in 80 years of a brand that has been defined by community, open-air freedom, pioneering spirit and innovative 4X4 technologies.

Ask 100 Jeep SUV owners from all over the globe to identify the most memorable moments of the Jeep brand's history. It is unlikely that they would give the same answers. Here's a list of eight of the most memorable moments that the Jeep brand has experienced over the past eight decades.

1. 4xe is the New 4x4

With the introduction of 4xe, a Jeep brand exclusive and proprietary use of electrification to create and produce the most capable and fun 4x4 vehicles in all of the world, the evolution of Jeep's brand was accelerated in the 80th anniversary year. This includes the new Jeep Grand Cherokee which will be unveiled at the 2021 New York International Auto Show.

The Jeep Wrangler 4xe, as the brand's icon, is leading the brand’s electrification campaign. Jeep Wrangler's Trail Rated 4x4 capability can be made possible by a sealed waterproof batteries pack and electronics that can withstand the most severe conditions. The 4xe is powered by a 2.0L DOHC direct-injection turbo-PHEV engine. It boasts 375 horsepower and 470 pounds-feet (637Nm) of torque. This Wrangler is capable, powerful, efficient and environmentally-friendly. It can accelerate from 0-60 mph in six seconds and has an incredible driving range of 370-miles.

2. The American Premium:

The premium SUV's new 2022 Wagoneer, Grand Wagoneer, and Grand Wagoneer go beyond the boundaries of comfort, style, and adventure. The Jeep Grand Wagoneer and Wagoneer, which can carry eight people, are a premium extension to the brand. They have a unique and sophisticated design. These vehicles build on the rich American heritage of craftsmanship, heritage and refinement, while offering a superior customer experience through a range of premium ownership perks.

3. Global Expansion

The Jeep brand has increased its product range with new nameplates like the compact Jeep Renegade, and the all-new Jeep Gladiator. This is the most powerful Jeep truck ever. Customers in countries like China, Brazil, India, India, and China can now enjoy locally manufactured Jeep brand vehicles. The Jeep brand's diverse product range and large production footprint with 10 plants in six different countries enabled it to see significant sales growth over the past 10 years.

4. The Ultimate in Traction and Handling

Two new four-wheel-drive systems were developed in 1999. Quadra-Trac II was an innovative system that transferred torque rearward to front and sides. This means drive torque is instantly available to all four wheels. It also allows for maximum traction and handling in all conditions and without the need to be commanded by the driver. The new Quadra-Drive was created when Quadra-Trac was paired with Vari-Lok rear and front progressive axles that deliver more torque to the wheels with better grip.

5. Detroit's Jeep Grand Cherokee Breaks Through Literally

Chrysler President Bob Lutz drove the new Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ from the Jefferson production line to Detroit on January 7, 1992. He was driving the vehicle along the streets of Detroit and through the Cobo Hall's glass front door, a sign of the groundbreaking premium SUV. Grand Cherokee was distinguished by its luxurious interior and on-road handling. It also offered comfort and the same off-road capabilities that made Jeep a household name.

6. The Birth of a Legend

In 1986, the Jeep Wrangler was born to fulfill the public's need for an SUV that is smaller and more comfortable. It had a lower center-of-gravity, better handling and a more comfortable interior. It was the first Jeep vehicle to be a standard. The Wrangler was a close cousin to the CJ-7's open-body design, but it had few similarities with its predecessor. The Wrangler was more similar to the Cherokee in terms of mechanical design. Just over a year after the Wrangler's introduction, American Motors Corporation was purchased by Chrysler Corporation. The popular Jeep brand became part of Chrysler's Jeep / Eagle Division.

7. Cherokee - The World's First Compact SUV

A smaller 4x4 was developed in response to the 1979 energy crisis. The original 1984 Jeep Cherokee XJ was a compact SUV that was built from scratch. The vehicle's unibody construction allowed it to be smaller than its predecessor, but still retained 90% of its interior space. This vehicle was equipped with the Command-Trac four-wheel-drive system.

8. Wagoneer creates the original premium SUV

The Jeep Wagoneer, a premium SUV that combined four-wheel drive and an automatic transmission, was first introduced in 1963. The Wagoneer introduced options previously only found in luxury cars and changed the expectations of what a four-wheel-drive vehicle should be. The 4x4 market was expanded and the appeal of SUVs increased. Two decades later, Jeep launched the Grand Wagoneer. This 4x4 luxury vehicle brought the premium 4x4 experience to a new level. It featured standard features like leather upholstery, sound insulation, air conditioning, and wood graining.

9. Jeep Jamboree is the "Granddaddy” of All 4-Wheel Events

The first Jeep Jamboree was held at the Georgetown Divide, California in 1953. It attracted 55 vehicles and 155 people. Mark Smith organized this event and it demonstrated how Jeep owners love to get together for fun, camaraderie, and 4x4 adventure. Jeep Jamboree holds events all across the United States. However, the Rubicon Trail is the most well-known. It traverses the Sierra Nevada Mountain range in California and offers 17 miles of extreme off-roading adventure. The Jeep brand is one of the most beloved brands in the world. It has generated as much enthusiasm and community commitment as any other brand. Every day, owners and their fans show passion in every corner of the world.

10. The First SUV

Willys-Overland introduced in 1946 the industry's first all-steel-body wagon, the Willys Wagon. But the true breakthrough was in 1949 when the wagon was equipped with four-wheel drive to make the first SUV. The Willys Wagon could carry seven people comfortably, haul cargo, and tackle any trail. Brooks Stevens' Wagon, which was designed by him, was in production for almost 20 years. This is more than any American automobile today.

11. Jeep 4x4 for the Masses

1945 CJ-2A was the first four-wheel-drive light-duty vehicle to be made available in mass quantities for the general public. Although the CJ-2A was based on the MB's basic architecture, it had several significant improvements. These improvements included a fold down tailgate, side mounted spare tire, larger headlights, and a power take off unit.

12. A Wartime Icon Is Born

Willys-Overland received the contract to supply the U.S. government's new 1/4-ton military vehicle in 1941. These Jeep MBs were produced in excess of 350,000 units by 1945. They would also be used as the basis for civilian Jeep CJ production that began even before the war ended.

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