Since the end of World War II, the Jeep brand was sold to company after company. Many of its new owners failed, but Jeep always kept going.
The core of Jeep is the Wrangler. It's a rough-edged off-roader that traces its roots all the way back to the original military beast of burden.
In its last redesign, Chrysler actually managed to extend the Wrangler's market reach without alienating hard-core "Jeepers." It did this by adding a second pair of doors to the extended version of the vehicle, called the Wrangler Unlimited.
And now it's an undeniable hit for Chrysler. Dealers are selling them as fast as they can get them.
There is one small downside to all this, however. By bringing in all these new owners, Jeep could contributing to its own low owner-satisfaction scores. Many of these people have never owned a Jeep before and may not have realized just how rugged it really is.
The Wrangler is designed to be driven across forbidding landscapes with its roof off and then get hosed out afterwards. In a Wrangler, the plastic interior really is purposeful. So is the harsh ride and shopping cart handling. But after a few weeks of ownership, the average suburbanite who thought the Wrangler was "cute" may just rethink the whole idea.