They say that war is hell - and there can be no arguing that point. However, war sometimes, indeed all the time pushes the boundaries of science and manufacturing and has led to some of the most amazing and life changing breakthroughs in modern times.
When it comes to automotive development another icon had its beginnings in war - the Second World War - and that was Jeep. It was in mid July of 1941 that what was then the 'Willys Overland Motor Company' based in Ohio received its first order for what was then known as the 'Willys MB' for the American military.
The Jeep built a reputation that stays with the brand even today. The tough little car was fast, nimble and versatile. It was at home in even the toughest of conditions. It was just as at home toting a machine gun as it was acting as an ambulance or towing heavy weapons.
In excess of 637 thousand Jeeps were built by Willy's (and later Ford) during WWII. The design elements that became part of the jeep mythos can still be seen on models such as the Wrangler which features the iconic stamped and slotted grill and round headlights of the original.
The Jeep brand may have see owners come and go (today it's owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) but it has always found a place in the hearts of those who love the great outdoors.
The success of Jeep is due in part to the fact that the automobile became a global phenomenon. At the end of WWII there were Jeeps scattered across the globe - and local markets were glad to have them. Even today Jeep commits itself to a set portion of overseas sales.
The history of Jeep has certainly been filled with trials and tribulations - in 2009 it had to be bailed out of bankruptcy by the American government. However today under the guidance of Fiat Chrysler the brand is flourishing. Models such as the Wrangler, the Grand Cherokee, the Renegade, the Patriot and the Compass the marque is now beating its previous records in terms of global shipments.
Jeep looks set to remain a firm favourite with off roaders and lovers of fine automobiles with a touch of the tough across the globe. With Jeep's pedigree it deserves its place on the road and off it.
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