American farmers, construction workers and outdoorsmen needed a vehicle that could travel where roads didn't reach. Besides, Willys was in no financial position to compete against bigger companies for the resources needed to build a new passenger car.
Even before the war ended, Willys had been touting the benefits of the Jeep in civilain life. "Gee, wouldn't it be swell to have a Jeep at the lake after the war?" one ad asked.
The CJ - Civilian Jeep - was introduced in 1945. Sales were brisk despite the glut of surplus military Jeeps on the market. Some changes were made for the civilian market. Headlights were made larger, for example, and the new grill had seven slots instead of the nine the military version had.