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Reviewitonline.net, an online resource for the most current automobile information, is dedicated to providing driving information about sports utility vehicles, or SUVs, which are an extremely popular segment of the current auto market. In the last few years, crossover SUVs, (which have the utility and function of an SUV but drivetrains that are more similar to cars) have been in especially high demand. However, to understand the current SUV market it’s important to closely study its past. So, how did this segment of the market come to fruition?

Inception

Some say that the true birth of the SUV began when the vehicle was called a “depot hack.” Similar to today’s taxi, these vehicles carried people and their luggage to and from train stations. This led specifically to today’s idea of the station wagon/suburban.

Others say the idea of the SUV as we know it today began during the Second World War. During World War II, there was a growing need for rugged, yet lightweight vehicles that could travel on all types of terrains. These vehicles are often referred to as off-road vehicles, due to the fact that they can travel on and off gravel or paved surfaces easily. Three manufacturers attempted to win contracts to build these automobiles for the armed forced during this time: Willy-Overland, Ford, and Bantam.

Willy-Overland won the contract from the U.S. government and went on to produce over 300,000 Government Pygmy Willys (GPWs) by the time the war was over. The GPW was christened with the “Jeep,” which is where that auto marque got its name.

After the war ended in 1945, soldiers liked the Jeep models so much they desired them for personal use upon returning home. Willy-Overland began manufacturing civilian Jeep models, such as the Jeep Wagon (1946) and Jeepster (1948). These vehicles were given the nickname “Utility Vehicles.”

Mass Market

By the 1970s, Jeep models were really taking off with the public. “Sport” was added to the vehicles title to note the fact that the models were becoming utilized for motorsport and recreation, not simply carting passengers from place to place. SUVs reached the height of their popularity by the 1990s due to their appeal with families because of their large cabins, excellent towing capabilities, and ample safety features.

Decline & Resurgence

In the 2000s, however, the popularity of the SUV began to decline due to high gasoline prices. Some automakers began to cut production of SUVs and focus more on developing their compact and mid-size vehicles, while others simply closed SUV plants altogether. Today, the popularity of the SUV has seen resurgence due to automakers’ dedication to providing smaller, more fuel-efficient crossover SUVs to appeal to drivers across the market.

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