Jeep is owned by Stellantis, the European giant in the automaking industry, which was created due to the consolidation of the sector and the merger among two of the largest groups in Europe, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group. The whole group generated nearly €180 billion in revenue in 2022, with a net profit of €16.78 billion.
Introduciton to the Jeep brand
Jeep is a brand of American automobile with a core focus on sport utility vehicles (SUVs) of the crossover and fully off-road variety. The brand is named after a light military truck that was manufactured for use in the Second World War, itself named after the older slang term jeep to denote a new vehicle or recruit.
In 2022, around 1.547 million vehicles were sold in the United States from just under 2,500 licensed dealerships that hold franchise rights to sell Jeep-branded vehicles.
The Jeep Brand is owned by automotive multinational Stellantis which formed in 2021 after a merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group (Peugeot).
The Jeep brand has been owned by a number of companies since its inception. Its first owner was Willys-Overland, one of only two companies to respond to a U.S. army call to create a functional prototype of a 4WD reconnaissance car.
The American Bantam Car Company was preferred initially. But after the Army conceded that the small company did not have sufficient production capacity, it supplied the Bantam blueprint to Willys and encouraged the company to enhance it.
Willys later won a contract to produce Jeeps for the war effort, with Ford also awarded a contract. There were only minor differences between each company’s version.
In the mid-1940s after the war ended, Willys started to think about Jeep as a brand for civilians. The company took the existing design and added seats, better headlights, and a tailgate among other features.
Over the 50s and 60s, the brand had a small but loyal following and relied on further military contracts for volume and profitability. Over this time, the Jeep brand changed ownership on more than one occasion. Willys was acquired by Kaiser Manufacturing Company in 1953, itself acquired by American Motors Corporation (AMC) in 1969.
AMC, Renault, and Chrysler
AMC’s financial position was dubious at the time of the Jeep acquisition, which lead to Renault taking a 25% stake in 1978. Though AMC debuted the successful XJ Cherokee, the company was ultimately acquired by Chrysler in 1987.
Chrysler acquired Jeep because its dynamic CEO Lee Iacocca believed its off-road vehicles were a perfect match for the company’s existing model range. The company grew rapidly in the 1990s thanks to increased demand for SUVs and several new models.
Jeep’s success as a brand drew the attention of Daimler AG, which later merged with Chrysler in a $38 billion deal to produce the “most innovative company this industry has ever seen.”
The Daimler era saw multiple successes such as the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, but it also saw a few failures. After nine years of substantial losses, Daimler ultimately paid Cerberus Capital Management $675 million to take 80.1% of Chrysler and Jeep off its hands
Bankruptcy and re-emergence
Two years later, Chrysler (and by extension, Jeep) declared bankruptcy and was rescued by the government. But the re-emergence of the Jeep brand was the result of Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne seeing its value and global potential.
The company obtained an initial 20% stake in Chrysler and invested money in smaller, more equipped vehicles based on a Fiat platform. Jeep eventually became part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in December 2014 which operates in the USA as FCA US LLC.
- Jeep is a brand of American automobile with a core focus on sport utility vehicles (SUVs) of the crossover and fully off-road variety.
- The Jeep Brand is owned by automotive multinational Stellantis which was formed in 2021 after a merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group (Peugeot).
- Jeep has a rather unique ownership history in that first production was contracted by the U.S. Army. Willys-Overland and Ford were the first two companies to produce vehicles under the Jeep brand, but it has also been owned by Kaiser Manufacturing Company, AMC, Daimler, Cerberus Capital Management, and Fiat since the 1950s.