Jeep enthusiasts can be tough to impress, but arm yourself with these Jeep facts, and you’ll be closing the deal in no time.
If you sell Jeeps, you know it’s not just “another” vehicle brand — it’s a lifestyle for many proud Jeep owners. There are dedicated fan websites, forums, clubs, and accessories. Jeep lovers attend events and congregate for off-roading adventures around the country. They make fantastic modifications to their Jeep Wranglers and show off to each other, trying to figure out who customized their rides the best.
Needless to say, if you sell Jeeps at your auto dealership, you better brush up on your Jeep facts if you want to sell to devoted fans of the brand. In addition to knowing every Jeep on your lot inside and out, it’s good to have some exciting trivia in your back pocket that you can pull out when necessary. These little nuggets of knowledge show that you didn’t just read the owner’s manual — you have a real interest in Jeeps and the people who drive them.
Sharing some of these lesser known details can help you gain trust with potential buyers, get you “in” with the Jeep-buying crowd, convert customers into first-time Jeep owners, and maybe even close a deal for an individual who’s on the fence.
The top 10 Jeep facts every auto salesperson should know
1. The first Jeep was a byproduct of World War II.
In June 1940, the U.S. Army asked automakers to create a quarter ton “light reconnaissance vehicle” specifically for the Army’s unique needs. Of the 135 automakers solicited, only 3 responded — Bantam, Willys, and Ford. It took about a year, but contributions from each company ended up creating the template for the first Jeep vehicle. The prototype was finished in only 75 days and delivered to the U.S. Army on November 11, 1940, by Willys-Overland, who won the primary contract.
2. Ford gets the credit for the Jeep’s grill.
The iconic flat slotted grill with integrated headlights is a big part of the Jeep’s design, and Ford is responsible for it. The company’s Pilot Model GP-No.1 “Pygmy” started with 13 slots, then went to nine, and ended at seven in 1945.
3. The exact origin of the Jeep name is a mystery.
The first Jeeps used by the Army were Willys MA and Willys MB, but eventually, the name changed to Jeep. Some people believe it’s a play on General Purpose Vehicle (GP), while others say it’s the name of Ford’s version, GPW; G stood for “government,” P was the distance between the wheels, and W was Willys since Willys held the license. Other people say the name for any military prototypes was “jeep” and it just stuck.
4. A Jeep received a Purple Heart.
A Marine Corps Jeep that was the first to land on Guadalcanal and one of the first on Bougainville received a retirement order and a Purple Heart for bullet holes in its windshield.
5. Jeep isn’t a stand-alone company.
The Jeep brand has had eight different owners, with Fiat-Chrysler as the current company in charge. Before that, it belonged to Chrysler LLC, Daimler Chrysler, Chrysler Corporation, Renault, American Motor Corp., Kaiser Jeep, and Willys-Overland.
6. The first civilian Jeep was the CJ-2A.
It came out in the late-1940s and offered features the military versions didn’t have, like a tailgate, external fuel cap, and a side-mounted spare tire. The company was hoping it would appeal to farmers and construction workers.
7. The 1963 Jeep Wagoneer featured a lot of “firsts.”
The Wagoneer was the first “luxury SUV”, boasting the first independent front suspension and automatic transmission in a 4X4 vehicle, the first overhead-cam six-cylinder truck engine, and the first automatic full-time 4WD system.
8. The Jeep Wrangler has great resale value.
The 2016 Jeep Wrangler was named Best Resale Value in its class (Compact SUV Crossover) and one of the top 10 cars overall by Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com.
9. You may save money on insurance if you drive a Jeep Wrangler.
In a nationwide comparison of auto insurance rates, Insure.com named the Jeep Wrangler one of the ten least expensive vehicles to insure.
10. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is popular.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee was named the 2016 Most Popular Traditional Midsize SUV on Edmunds.com. Their definition of “most popular” was the vehicle in its segment that attracted the most “car-shopper consideration” on the research and inventory pages.
If you’re like most car salespeople, you aren’t just selling one brand all the time. In addition to knowing plenty of Jeep facts, it’s also a good idea to read up on facts about other big auto companies like Honda and Ford. By sharing these fun facts, you’ll hopefully see an increase in commission that will impress your boss and maybe even put you in line for a promotion.