FAKE NEWS gave us the Wrangler name!!!
Contrary to popular belief American Motors Corporation, AMC, the parent company of the Jeep brand from 1970 – 1987, and NOT Chrysler Corporation, created the Wrangler as the replacement for the CJ-7. I recall at the time when Chrysler Corporation purchased Jeep in 1987 that they were “blamed” for “ruining” the CJ-7 and giving us the Wrangler.
New vehicles are in development for several years, between 5 and 7, prior to launch, therefore Chrysler Corporation could never have pulled off a CJ-7 replacement in less than a year!
So, why did AMC drop the CJ naming? Because of FAKE NEWS!!! Yes, FAKE NEWS existed long before the Communist, or Clinton, I mean Cable News Network (CNN). Before CNN, we had good ole’ 60 Minutes, with that stupid stopwatch!!!
60 Minutes did a piece in December of 1980 based on rigged vehicle tests and miss-leading studies, helping to create the idea that the CJ was an unsafe vehicle.
The 60 Minutes segment was based on a report issued by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) on “the extremely hazardous tendency of the Jeep CJ utility vehicle in highway use.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found during a 1981 review of the testing that Dynamic Science Incorporated performed for IIHS, used “abnormal test conditions and unrealistic maneuvers…generated by an automatic control device which…which was programmed to provide input not entirely representative of driver input”.
Several lawsuits followed, some involving the tragic loss of life, alleging that the CJ was the cause of the incident and not simply the risks associated with motor vehicle travel?!
More than one insurance company either refused to issue policies to new Jeep CJ owners or sent warnings to existing policyholders.
The CJ may have also suffered from the bad press that the completely unrelated, however still military “jeep”, M151, did justly receive due to its propensity for rollovers due to a new and unproven front/rear independent suspension system. Because of the rollover issues, the US Military experienced with the M151, NHTSA did block the sales of the M151 for civilian use, which it had not done to the CJ-based military jeep so that certainly did not help the image of the CJ!!!
AMC began development of the Wrangler in the early 1980s making the vehicle more “user-friendly” with a lower center-of-gravity, softer ride, and added creature comforts, and the square headlights!!!
I am unsure of why the name Wrangler was chosen, however, the CJ name was killed due to FAKE NEWS, and after 30+ years, the Wrangler name has now morphed into us calling our Jeep’s TJ, JK, JL, and JT.
The Liability Maze: The Impact of Liability Law on Safety and Innovation
edited by Peter W. Huber, Robert E. Litan