Who Owns Jeep? Where Did Jeep Get Its Start?

Jeep off road

Who makes Jeep?

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Who makes CDJR?” FCA, which stands for “Fiat Chrysler Automobiles,” is the company that owns Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, RAM, FIAT, and Jeep. Even though FIAT and Alfa Romeo are fairly new additions to the FCA family, many of their features and technologies, like the Uconnect® suite, are the same across the board. But each brand has its own features and makes vehicles that are different from the others in its lineup.

Red Jeep Car

Where are Jeeps made?

Even though most Jeeps are made in the United States, the company has 10 factories in six countries and sells cars in more than 140 countries. The United States, Mexico, Brazil, Italy, China, and India all have factories where people make Jeeps.

A lot of international plants make parts for transmissions and powertrains. But most of the putting together happens in the U.S.

Do they make Jeeps in Italy?

The company produces both the Jeep Renegade and the Fiat 500X in Melfi, Italy. The Cherokee, the Wrangler, the Compass, and the Gladiator are all put together in the U.S.

Stellaris has factories all over the world because it is part of a bigger company. Some of these factories make Jeeps for people all over the world.

03 Red Jeep Trucks

Where do they make Jeep Wranglers?

Since the 1970s, they have made Wranglers at The Toledo Assembly Complex in Toledo, Ohio. The complex is on 312 acres and has 3.64 million square feet of floor space. Nearly 6,500 people work there. The Toledo Supplier Park (South Plant) and the Toledo North Plant are both parts of the facility. This is where they make Jeep Wrangler.

Black Jeep Car

The Toledo Supplier Park has a long history. It is on the site of what used to be the Stickney Plant and Parkway Annex. When Chrysler bought AMC in 1987, they got the Stickney and Parkway plant and renamed it the Toledo Assembly Plant. Kaiser Jeep bought the Stickney Plant in 1964. Before AMC changed the plant to make cars in 1981, it got mostly used for machining and making engines.

The Parkway plant was the oldest place in North America to make things. In the early 1900s, it was the main place where Willys-Overland made things and where they ran their business. Parkway first made military Jeeps there before making Jeeps for civilians.

The brand-new Toledo Supplier Park replaced Stickney and Parkway in 2005. After the new factory opened, it started making the 2007 Jeep Wrangler JK. Before the last one came off the line in 2018, the factory had made more than 2 million JK Wranglers.

In December 2017, FCA began making the next-generation JL Wrangler at the updated Toledo North Plant. The Toledo Supplier Park was updated so that the Jeep Gladiator, which started shipping to dealers in April 2019, could be made there.

Even though it’s been more than 30 years, the Toledo Complex is still where the Jeep Wrangler begins. It also helps the area’s economy and gives people a chance to work.

Do you know you can uncover Jeep Easter eggs on the Wranglers? See how >>

The brand Jeep

Even though the Jeep brand is very American, it is owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), which is based in Turin, Italy, but has its North American headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan (and is incorporated in the Netherlands for tax purposes). But Jeep’s brand home is still in Toledo, Ohio, where FCA builds the iconic Wrangler, which was named 2019 MotorTrend SUV of the Year, as well as the new Jeep Gladiator pickup truck.

Rubicon Jeep

Jeep has a long history in the military. During WWII, Jeeps were only used by the military. Jeep was a nickname back then. It came from either slurring the GP reference to the General Purpose vehicle or from Eugene the Jeep, a magical creature from the Popeye comic strip. The government wanted a three-person vehicle that weighed 1,200 pounds and had an 80-inch wheelbase. A big sergeant should be able to pick it up out of the mud. Then Jeep would replace motorcycles and army mules. It had to have 45 horsepower, and the windshield had to fold flat so the car could fit sideways in a shipping crate with room for all four tires. Willys got the contract, changed some of the specs to make them more realistic (the specs were made by government officials, not auto engineers), and the military Jeep was born. When Willys couldn’t make enough Jeeps to meet the military’s needs, Ford stepped in to help.

The first civilian Jeep was the CJ.

Ex-military civilians who wanted a Jeep made the CJ, which later turned into the Wrangler we know today. On July 17, 1945, they called the first CJ-A2 the “Universal Jeep” because it could do anything, rolled off the assembly line in Toledo. The civilian model’s grille went from having nine slots to only seven. The number of slots has changed from 0 to 22 over time. In 1996, Jeep decided to make its seven-slot grille a symbol of the brand.

02 Jeep Brown and Jeep Green

Willys-Overland started making civilian Jeeps, but they didn’t stay in the business for long. In 1953, Kaiser Motors bought the company. In 1970, the Jeep business was bought by American Motors Corporation (AMC). When Chrysler bought Jeep and the other AMC brands in 1987, it was a smart move.

In 1998, Daimler Chrysler took over Chrysler, but in 2007, the German automaker got rid of the Chrysler part of the business. Then, in 2009, Chrysler Group joined Fiat Group to get out of bankruptcy, and in 2014, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles became Jeep’s official parent company.

The so-called “Jeep curse” comes from the fact that every company that has owned Jeep has failed, except for the most recent one. The Jeep’s survival is not a sign that it gets cursed. Instead, it shows how popular and valuable the brand is since multiple owners were willing to pay to save a failing competitor just to get Jeep. Willys-Overland, Kaiser, and AMC are no longer brands, and Chrysler has gotten rid of many of its brands while it has owned Jeep.

Who owns Jeep now, and what has changed about the brand?

Jeeps are still mostly SUVs and crossovers, with a few pickups and convertibles thrown in. Most of the time, a Jeep is the most capable car in its class, and the brand has grown into many different segments.

Jeep on desert

Many of Jeep’s most famous names are still in use: Wrangler, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, Gladiator, and soon the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, a luxury SUV with three rows that will be the 2022 model year. People will use the Ram 1500’s frame for the Wagoneers, and they will put them together in the same plant in Warren, Michigan.

Over the years, new Jeeps have come out, like the Compass, Patriot, and Renegade. These are more urban vehicles that Jeep purists said didn’t deserve the Jeep name. Officials from the company have defended the fact that Jeep is making smaller and softer cars by saying that the Wrangler keeps the brand’s integrity and lets it branch out and appeal to a wider range of customers around the world.

Check out our Jeep apparel collection here >>

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