Jeep is an automobile marque (and registered trademark) of Chrysler. It is the oldest off-road vehicle (also sport utility vehicle - SUV) brand, with Land Rover coming in second. The original vehicle which first appeared as the prototype Bantam BRC became the primary light 4-wheel-drive car of the US Army and allies during the World War II and postwar period. Many vehicles serving similar military and civilian roles have since been created by many nations.
Origin of the term "jeep"
There are many explanations of the origin of the word "jeep," all of which have proven difficult to verify. Probably the most popular notion holds that the vehicle bore the designation "GP" (for "Government Purposes" or "General Purpose"), which was phonetically slurred into the word jeep. However, R. Lee Ermey, on his television series Mail Call, disputes this, saying that the vehicle was designed for specific duties, was never referred to as "General Purpose," and that the name may have been derived from Ford's nomenclature referring to the vehicle as GP (G for government use, and P to designate its 80-inch (2,000mm) wheelbase). "GP" does appear in connection with the vehicle in the TM 9-803 manual, which describes the vehicle as a machine, and the vehicle is designated a "GP" in TM 9-2800, Standard Motor Vehicles, September 1, 1949, but whether the average jeep-driving GI would have been familiar with either of these manuals is open to debate.