The Jeep was born during the Second World War, when the US Army contacted American auto companies, asking for a four-wheel-drive reconnaissance vehicle, to be used in the war. Three companies—American Bantam, Willys-Overland and Ford—made thousands of such vehicles, which played a major military role in the war.
The post-war period saw the rise of the Jeep as a recreation vehicle. With this, the number of models increased. At the same time, the Jeep was built under licence by manufacturers around the world, including Mahindra & Mahindra in India.
Over the years, the brand went through many owners. In 1987, Chrysler bought it. In 2014, Chrysler became a subsidiary of Fiat. Today, the Jeep is part of FCA.
Next week, three Jeep models will be launched in India: Wrangler Unlimited, Grand Cherokee and Grand Cherokee SRT.
As far as design is concerned, the Wrangler Unlimited is a direct descendant of the wartime Willys MB. Among other things, it has removable top and doors, which help turn it into an open-air 4×4 vehicle. It will be powered by a 2.8-litre turbo diesel engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. Expected price: Rs 30-40 lakh.
It is a luxury SUV with a hard-top. It will likely be launched in two variants—Grand Cherokee Limited and Grand Cherokee Summit. Both of these will be powered with a 3.0-litre turbo diesel engine. Expected price: Rs 35-45 lakh.
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT
SRT stands for Street & Racing Technology. The Grand Cherokee SRT is a more powerful version of the Grand Cherokee, which looks the part—blacked-out front end, sporty headlights, lowered drive height, stiffer spring rates, robust anti-roll bars, etc. It comes with a mighty 6.4-litre 470-horsepower petrol engine. Expected price: Rs 75-80 lakh.