In 1940, the U.S. Army called for a car that met certain specifications and one of the few car companies that responded to this call was Willys-Overland. During World War II, the company supplied the army with over 330,000 vehicles. In 1950, Willys trademarked the name Jeep. In 1946, Jeep came out with a station wagon and sedan delivery vehicle and in 1949 the true precursor to the Jeep Wrangler came out in the form of an all-steel station wagon.
The first Jeep vehicles were designed and built by the American Bantam Car Company in 1940, for use by the US Army in WWII. But because Bantam was too small of a company to produce as many vehicles as needed by the Army, Willys and Ford Motor Companies became the chief producers of the vehicle from 1941-1945. After the war the Willys-Overland Company was given full rights to the name Jeep, and began manufacturing them for civilian use. Ownership of the Jeep name has now gone through 8 changes over the last 60 years, with the current ownership being Chrysler Group LLC.
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