80 Years of Jeep®!

What began as a wartime utility vehicle in 1941 is now an entire lineup of capable, technologically advanced and stylish SUVs. Over the past 80 years, the Jeep® brand has introduced the first SUV, the first compact SUV, the original premium SUV and the first mass-market 4x4 vehicle. From the original Jeep MB to the electrified 2021 Jeep Wranger 4xe, Jeep® is synonymous with going off-road. In celebration of 80 years of rugged innovation, we take a look at game-changing moments in Jeep® brand history.

Willys-Overland Co. was awarded a contract with the U.S. War Department to begin producing the first Jeep® military vehicle on July 15, 1941, producing over 350,000 units by 1945. Before the war ended, production began on the civilian version, the Jeep CJ.

The CJ-2A launched in 1945 as the first-ever four-wheel-drive vehicle made available to everyone. While similar to the original Jeep MB, the road-ready Jeep CJ added larger headlights, a spare tire mounted on the side, a fold-down tailgate and a new power take-off unit.

By 1946, Willys-Overland Co. introduced the Willys Wagon, the first station wagon with an all-steel body. In 1949, Willys-Overland added four-wheel-drive to create the world's first SUV. The new Brooks Stevens-designed Willys Wagon carried seven passengers, had a smoother ride feel and plenty of room for cargo. Sound familiar?

Jeep Jamboree — Jeep Wave
Jeep drivers are known for their camaraderie and enthusiasm for everything off-road. 1953 marked the first Jeep Jamboree, bringing 155 participants and 55 4x4 vehicles together for fun and adventure. Today, Jeep Jamborees are held throughout the U.S., most notably at the popular Rubicon Trail, 17-miles of some of the toughest terrain out there.

Many Jeep owners opt to join the Jeep Wave program, a customer care and owner loyalty program that offers extra benefits and maintenance coverage. Benefits include additional maintenance for no extra cost, loaner rentals while your Jeep is getting serviced, a dedicated 24/7 customer service team, and VIP treatment at Jeep® brand events!

To celebrate 80 years, Jeep® is expanding the Jeep Wave program to include all new 2021 Jeep models, whether you buy or lease! Plus, you can try out onX Offroad Elite app for six months and access over 550,000 miles of trails on the go.

World Firsts
In addition to creating the world's first SUV, Jeep® brand also launched the first-ever compact SUV as the Jeep Cherokee in 1984. Using unibody construction, the new Jeep Cherokee XJ was smaller on the outside but carried just as much cargo inside as previous larger SUVs.

In 1963, Jeep® introduced us to the premium SUV with the new Jeep Wagoneer. The Wagoneer was the first to use an automatic transmission with 4WD and upscale features, including power steering and brakes, a radio, and heating. Keep in mind these were not standard features in 1963! The more luxurious Grand Wagoneer was released in 1984, adding luxury features, including leather, air conditioning, an AM/FM/CB radio, sound insulation and wood trim.

Until the debut of the Jeep Wagoneer, many drivers had two vehicles: a more traditional car for getting around town and a 4x4 option since the typical 4x4 was small, bumpy and better for going off-road.

In 2021, Jeep® relaunched the iconic Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer outfitted with all the latest technology like massive touchscreens, LED lighting, a 23-speaker McIntosh® premium audio system. They feature the latest and most advanced Jeep off-road systems — Quadra-Drive® II 4x4, Selec-Terrain Management System, and the innovative new Quadra-Lift Suspension system.

Also, in 2021, Jeep® launched the all-new three-row Jeep Grand Cherokee L that adds more space, capability and technology into the iconic Grand Cherokee lineup.

Birth of an Icon
Of course, we can't talk Jeep without mentioning the Jeep Wrangler. Debuting at the 1986 Chicago Auto Show, the first Jeep Wrangler YJ gave the people what they wanted — a compact SUV that was more comfortable to drive and ride in and that offered more amenities. The open body style was made convertible with zip off plastic windows and a lower, wider track to make it easier to get in and out.

Over the next 30 years, Jeep would introduce the Jeep Wrangler TJ (1996) with improved handling and comfort. The Jeep Wrangler JK arrived in 2006 with more computer software tech, a longer wheelbase and offered a four-door model for the first time.

In 2018, the current generation Jeep Wrangler JL launched with four trim levels that you may be familiar with — Sport, Sport S, Sahara, Rubicon — and offers a plethora of mods, add-ons and accessories.

Today, you can drive the first-ever electrified Jeep Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid. The new Jeep Wrangler 4xe boasts 375 horsepower, 470 lb-ft of instant torque, and can go 0-60 in 6 seconds. Getting an average of 49 MPGe*, the new Wrangler 4xe can also drive up to 21 miles in full EV mode**. Meaning it creates zero emissions and drives nearly silently in EV mode, putting a whole new meaning into connecting with nature way off the beaten path.

With the debut of the Jeep Wrangler 4xe, Jeep® is developing a Jeep 4xe Charging Network with Electrify America to install charging stations at Jeep Badge of Honor off-road trailheads so you can recharge no matter where you are.

The future of the Jeep® brand lies in electrification and 4xe technology, intending to have a fully-electric Jeep 4xe in every SUV model by 2025. Next up is the all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee, which will debut with a plug-in hybrid version in 2022.

Congratulations to Jeep® on 80 years of innovation, capability, quality craftsmanship and brand building. There are now millions of satisfied Jeep® brand vehicle owners all over the world. The future is looking electric!

Learn more about the new plug-in hybrid Jeep Wrangler 4xe and first-ever three-row Jeep Grand Cherokee L, now available to custom order at Hilltop Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram in Richmond, California. Our Hilltop Jeep Professionals are here to help you explore the entire Jeep lineup — Jeep Cherokee, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Compass, Jeep Renegade, Jeep Gladiator — plus the all-new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, the pinnacle of Jeep® innovation, technology and capability.

Hilltop CJDR offers expert advice, great selection, professional service and is here to help you find the perfect Jeep for your on- or off-road driving needs. Shop online or visit Hilltop Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram in Richmond, CA, today!

*EPA estimated miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent (MPGe). Actual mileage may vary.
**Based on EPA estimates with fully-charged battery. Actual mileage may vary.

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