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The History of SUVs

US Army Jeep in black and white

To coincide with the showcase of our MSS Urban range – a highly specific suspension solution engineered for the SUV driver, we have taken a look into the history behind SUVs and how this has helped shape the vehicles we see on the road today.

Where it all began…

1942 Willy's MB Jeep

Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) began life as military vehicles. Ahead of World War 2, the US army called upon over 130 automobile manufacturers to come up with a 4 wheel drive prototype vehicle that was tough, durable, and capable of carrying soldiers over rough terrain. Remarkably from the 130 companies asked, only two responded.

Willy’s Overland developed a prototype called the Jeep, and were then commissioned by the US army to supply the vehicle that later emerged as a hero to thousands of Allied soldiers around the world. With the help from the Ford Motor Company, the two automobile manufacturers were able to produce over 600,000 vehicles for the US army during WW2. 

After playing such an important role in keeping US, UK and Australian armies safe during the war, along with carrying equipment across treacherous environments, the Jeep went on sale to the general public with the CJ-5 model. This became an extremely popular car, particularly in the US.

From The Military to Farming

1948 Land Rover

The popularity of the Jeep CJ-5 influenced British brothers, Maurice and Spencer Wilks, to create a design for a 4×4 vehicle – the Land Rover. This followed a similar specification to the Jeep, but was designed as a working vehicle, targeting farmers. The Land Rover officially debuted in April, 1948. Its very closely related successor, the Defender, has been in production for a massive 72 years! 

The Birth of the Land Cruiser

1954 Toyota Land Cruiser

When the Korean War broke out in 1950, the US military requested that Japanese car manufacturers, Toyota, develop a vehicle that the US forces could use in battle. The prototype was created in 1951, but was rejected in favour of the hugely popular US Jeep. Toyota went back to the drawing board, and in 1953, came back with the Toyota Land Cruiser – a large, powerful and durable SUV that was adopted by the Japanese National Police Agency. The Land Cruiser remains an iconic vehicle to this very day, with old models still being used commercially and new Land Cruiser models still being produced.

Sending The World Into A Craze

BMW X3 2007

Although SUVs were relatively popular, they didn’t take off properly until the 90s, where they became the car of choice in both America and Asia. Europe was slower on the uptake due to an uncertainty around suitability for the urbanised environment.  Manufacturers responded by making the vehicles safer, affordable and more economical – SUV demand became worldwide!

Where SUVs are Today

Jaguar E-Pace

Today, the SUV market continues to grow in popularity around the globe. It’s now rare to find a car manufacturer that doesn’t have their own SUV range, or in the pipeline at least.

SUVs development continues in 2020. The all-new Alfa Romeo Ronale is due in the UK in Spring to rival the Jaguar E-Pace and Audi Q2 and the Ford Puma, a small SUV, has recently been released, rivalling the Nissan Juke. 

Although the Audi Q5 isn’t anything new to the market, it is due to receive a facelift in late 2020, and the Audi SQ7 and SQ8 models are due to be launched in the US at some point during 2020.

SUVs, have played a huge part in history, and continue to grow in popularity.

MSS Urban is specifically tuned to meet the individual needs of each vehicle, enhancing performance, comfort and safety. Available for a growing range of SUVs, including: 

Keep an eye out for more information on these models in the coming weeks as we delve deeper into each individual driving experience before and after installing MSS Urban. 

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