DaimlerChrysler is to invest around $2 billion (€1.6bn; £1.1bn) into overhauling its US Jeep brand.

The cash will be invested in new models and the expansion of a factory in Ohio. Jeep is produced by DC's stateside unit Chrysler Group.

First designed for the mass market in the 1960s, the brand is considered the forerunner of the now-ubiquitous sports-utility vehicle. But as more and more auto firms launched SUVs, Jeep's market share began to slip. In particular, the launch of General Motors' Hummer model last year challenged the Chrysler brand's dominance in the off-road market.

"The success of Hummer means the Jeep people have to be kicking themselves because the Hummer should have been a Chrysler Jeep product," commented Art Spinella, president of Oregon-headquartered consultancy CNW Marketing. "[Chrysler] missed an enormous opportunity so the only alternative they have is to redevelop all the products within the Jeep line."

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff