The Jeep marque may have started with Willys, but it would change hands many times between then and now. Willys produced the first Civilian Jeep, the CJ, in 1945 and were granted the trademark in 1950. Then Willys was sold to Kaiser Motors in 1953, becaming Kaiser-Jeep in 1963. American Motors Corporation (AMC) purchased Kaiser's money-losing Jeep operations in 1970. The utility vehicles complemented AMC's passenger car business by sharing components, achieving volume efficiencies, as well as capitalizing on Jeep's international and government markets.
began investing in AMC in 1979, however by 1987 the automobile
markets had changed and even Renault
itself was experiencing financial troubles. At the same time, Chrysler Corporation wanted to capture the Jeep brand, as well as other assets of AMC. Chrysler bought out AMC in 1987, shortly after the Jeep CJ-7 was replaced with the AMC-designed Jeep Wrangler or YJ. Chrysler merged with Daimler-Benz in 1998 to form DaimlerChrysler. DaimlerChrysler eventually sold most of their interest in Chrysler to a private equity company in 2007. Chrysler and the Jeep division now operate under the name Chrysler Group LLC.
Jeeps have been built under licence by various manufacturers around the world including Mahindra in India, EBRO in Spain, and several in South America. Mitsubishi built more than 30 different Jeep models in Japan between 1953 and 1998. Most of them were based on the CJ-3B model of the original Willys-Kaiser design. Toledo, Ohio has been the headquarters of the Jeep marque since its inception, and the city has always been proud of this heritage. Although no longer produced in the same Toledo Complex as the World War 2 originals, two streets in the vicinity of the old plant are named Willys Parkway and Jeep Parkway.