Jeep is a name that is familiar to automobile enthusiasts all over the world. The jeep was a product of the war. Particularly World War 2. The term Jeep was an umbrella term to denote all the four-wheel-drive vehicles produced then. The need for a powerful, light, and 4×4 rough terrain vehicle that suits the harsh conditions of the warzone paved the way for the mass production of this beast. It was from 1941 that it was produced significantly. American Bantam was the manufacturer of the Jeep initially. The design was then shared with Willys and Ford as the army thought Bantam’s supplying capacity was too less. This resulted in the introduction of “Pygmy” from Ford and “Quad” from Willys. The prototype design was developed and produced. The Willys Jeeps hit the commercial markets too soon. Even today, the auto enthusiasts see the Willys army Jeeps as a pure vintage master craft and are valued as a collectible. The ownership of Jeep has turned over quite a few times. That too within the span of the last few decades. But no ownership stayed too long. Let’s know more about who owns Jeep.
Who owned Jeep over these years?
After the initial creation of the Jeep by the American Bantam, the Willys – Overland took over the production. The Jeeps that they manufactured took the market by storm. The style and roughness of the army’s lightweight 4×4 vehicles were accepted by the public as well. Willys retained the patriotism of the army design in their productions as well. Even though they were the manufacturers, they hadn’t got the official “Jeep” trademark till 1950. Many other companies too have tried to produce vehicles similar to the Jeep-like for example Mahindra. Those were also called Jeep due to their similarity with the original Jeep. In 1953, Henry J. Kaiser bought Willys-Overland for 60.8 million USD. The company was still known as Willys Motor Inc. till 1963 when it was rebranded to Kaiser-Jeep Corporation. History witnessed even more takeovers as the American Motors Corporation (AMC) bought the firm for 75 million USD in 1970. Seventeen years later, in 1987, Chrysler paid a stunning 1.5 billion US dollars to make the takeover happen. Until 1998, they continued to produce Jeep, when it finally amalgamated with Daimler-Benz, as they paid around 36 Billion USD for the merger. The company was rebranded to DaimlerChrysler AG after the merger. They remained as the owners of Jeep till 2007 when it was sold.
Cerberus Capital Management owned the Jeep from 2007 to 2009. In 2007, a major share in Chrysler was bought by Cerberus Capital Management from DaimlerChrysler. But this served to be a tough time for Jeep. The sales dropped drastically and a hike in petrol prices added fuel to the fire. This put the firm on the back foot as they failed to stand the competition from Ford and General Motors. After two years, Cerberus went bankrupt and had to let go of Chrysler. On January 21, 2014, Fiat took the remaining shares and acquired Chrysler. It was Fiat who took the initiative to rescue Chrysler from the Chapter 11 bankruptcy that happened in 2009.
In 2009, the US government initiated a deal that made Fiat acquire a 20 percent share in Chrysler. There was also a clause that the interest of ownership could be increased to 35 percent only if the company met the required fuel efficiency requirements. The acquisition of shares continued to 2014 until Fiat took over all the shares. Fiat bought the leftover shares of Chrysler and hence the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) was established.
Who owns Jeep now?
Well, the one-word answer would be Stellantis, a multinational automobile production company that can be called a baby as it was just formed recently in 2021. The firm was formed based on a 50-50 merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), which is an Italian – American conglomerate (conglomerate means a corporation formed by a combination of different companies), and Peugeot S.A. also known as PSA Group of French origin. PSA Group produces automobiles under brands like Peugeot, Citroen, Vauxhall, etc. Fiat Chrysler, or FCA Group, is headquartered in Amsterdam, while the PSA corporation is currently headquartered in a Paris suburb. Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Peugeot, DS, Fiat, Dodge, Ram, Chrysler, Citroen, Opel, and Vauxhall will all be owned by the amalgamated firm, which will be domiciled in the Netherlands. Also, Jeep and Chrysler are now the brands under the conglomerate.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) pursued a merger with Renault in early 2019, and the two companies signed a provisional agreement. However, the actions of the French government during talks led to the termination of the contract; The Economist said that “for FCA this portended further interference.” Nissan was also concerned about the proposal’s impact on its cooperation with Renault. Following that, FCA approached PSA. The merger, which was officially announced in December 2019, was anticipated to create the world’s fourth-largest automaker by worldwide vehicle sales, with annual cost savings of €3.7 billion, or $4.22 billion.
The two corporations joined hands on January 16, 2021. It was set to happen even before. But the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic stalled the process and the merger took place earlier this year. This collaboration resulted in the growth of “the new baby”, Stellantis as it became the third-largest automobile manufacturer in terms of revenue and fourth-largest by capacity. Jeep was the sole product of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles before the merger.
Stellantis – The formation of the new conglomerate
After years of handing over, Jeep is now part of Stellantis. The European Commission approved the merger on December 21, 2020, while implementing minor remedies to ensure competition in the industry. The shareholders of both FCA and PSA authorized the merger on January 4, 2021, and the transaction closed on January 16, 2021. On 18 January 2021, mutual shares of the brand new business started trading on the Milan Stock Exchange (MTA) and Euronext Paris, and on 19 January 2021, on the New York Stock Exchange, all under the ticker symbol “STLA.” Asper May 24, 2021, all the firms have become a section of Stellantis Automotive. The Stellantis board will include 11 board personnel, encompassing 6 from Peugeot S.A. plus 5 from FCA.
With the handful of experience in serving as the former president and former CEO roles of the Peugeot S.A., Carlos Tavares, will continue to lead the new firm as its first CEO. His view will be showcasing Stellantis to the world, with full potential. He will also serve as CEO of Stellantis for a five-year tenure. PSA owners have similarly paid FCA stockholders a pre-merger premium. However, with a 14.4 percent ownership in Stellantis, Exor, the Agnelli family’s company that was FCA’s top shareholder, will be the largest stakeholder. The merger agreements allow the Peugeot family to raise its present 7.2 percent holding in Stellantis by up to 1.5 percent by purchasing shares from the French state lender Bpifrance, Dongfeng, or on the open market. The name Stellantis is used exclusively to identify the company, but the group’s brand names and emblems remain the same. A decade-long set of goals have been set by Carlos Tavares, the new CEO, in 2021, to explore the company’s and the sub brands’ potential to prove itself in return for the most required investments in future designs and tech. By the end of this year, Stellantis expects to introduce 39 models that will be powered by electricity in the market. By the end of the decade, four electric vehicle platforms are expected to be developed. By the end of 2021, the corporation expects to have invested more than €30 billion. Also, in America, none of Peugeot S. A’s brands are in production at the moment. The Peugeots were silently active in the US market till 1991 when the company discontinued due to lack of sales. On the contrary, CEO Tavares announced that the firm is all set for a relaunch of Peugeots in the US around 2026. So the goals are clear. The new conglomerate is aiming at the global market and a grand global launch.
The collaboration of both will result in the strengthening of the sub-brands and will make the wide range of automobiles across all price ranges even stronger. The conglomerate aims to establish its presence across the globe and to create an ecosystem that relies on new thinking and will be driven by innovation. The merger will surely result in the growth of Stellantis to the top of the automobile market and it will also trigger the launch of new ideas and trends. In a world where the need for mobility is increasing rapidly and the fuel prices and fuel availability sustain as a crisis, the introduction of such mergers will boost the industry in inventing innovation the world has never seen before. So, to conclude, the Jeep is officially a sub-brand under Stellantis, after all those takeovers and handovers of ownership over decades.