History of Willys

1908

John North Willys buys the Overland Automotive Division of Standard Wheel Company and in 1912 renames it Willys-Overland Motor Company.

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 1936

Coming out of bankruptcy following the Great Depression, the company is reorganized as Willys-Overland Motors, Inc.

1940

Working from a Bantam Car Company design, Willys contracts to build military Jeeps for the war and produces about 360,000 vehicles by 1945.

1945

Willys-Overland begins producing the Civilian Jeep (CJ) line, with the introduction of the CJ2A model.

1946

Production begins on the Willys Jeep Wagon. Over 300,000 are manufactured between 1946 and 1965. CJ3A is introduced, and more than 132,000 are made before the production ends in 1953.

1947

Production begins on the Willys Jeep Truck. From 1947 to 1965, more than 200,000 are manufactured.

1948

Production begins on the Willys Jeepster. Only 19,000 vehicles are manufactured from 1948 to 1950.

1952

Willys CJ3B Jeeps go into production. By 1968, over 155,000 are sold.

1953

Kaiser buys Willys-Overland and changes name to Willys Motor Company.

1954

CJ5 debuts at the start of its three-decade run.

1963

Company changes name to Kaiser-Jeep Corporation.

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1965

Kaiser-Jeep discontinues production of Willys wagons and trucks, retiring the Willys name with the line.

1970

American Motors Corporation takes over Kaiser-Jeep.

1975

CJ5 model is updated for the 1970s.

1975

Willys-Overland resurrected as a wholesale/retail parts business.

1976

Offering an optional automatic transmission, the CJ7 starts its 10-year run.

1983

By the time the last CJ5 rolls off the line in 1983, more than 610,000 of the vehicles have hit the highways in the U.S. and around the world.

1984

The XJ series Cherokee is introduced to compete in the growing compact SUV market.

1987

American Motors is purchased by Chrysler Corporation.

1993

Chrysler introduces the ZJ series Grand Cherokee to replace the discontinued Wagoneer.

1997

Redesigned TJ series Wrangler is introduced.

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1998

Daimler-Benz merges with Chrysler Corporation to form DaimlerChrysler, fifth largest auto maker in the world.

1999

The Grand Cherokee is redesigned.

 

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