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The jeep was invented by American armed forces as a "general purpose" (G.P., hence "jeep") automobile in World War II. More comfortable versions have been launched as farm or family vehicles (e.g., British Land Rover), and were the inspiration for vehicles such as the International Harvester[?] (IH) Scout and Chevrolet Blazer that were the roots of the SUV era in the 1980s.

There is a school of thought that it is not an abbreviation for general purpose but that the word comes from Eugene the Jeep in the Popeye cartoons.

The original prototypes were built for the Department of the Army by Bantam[?]. The model MB military Jeep was first built in quantity by Willys-Overland Motor Company in Toledo, Ohio. Due to their inability to produce the vast number of vehicles required, the U.S. government also allowed jeeps to be built by Ford Motor Company.

The Jeep was widely copied in countries other than the United States.

DaimlerChrysler, the most recent successor company to Willys, considers the word "Jeep" and the distinctive front grill design to be trademarks. It is said that the number of people worldwide who can recognize the distinctive grill design is second only to the number who can recognize Mickey Mouse. In 2003, Jeep produces three models: the Wrangler, the Grand Cherokee and the Liberty.

Jeeps are also produced in Beijing, China, by Beijing Jeep Corporation, Ltd. (BJC), a joint venture[?] between Beijing Automobile Industry Corporation, DaimlerChrysler Corporation and DaimlerChrysler China Invest Corporation, established on January 15, 1984.

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