So I got up behind a Dodge Grand Caravan the other day and I started thinking about my youth. This is because, in my youth, the Dodge Grand Caravan was an acceptable vehicle to drive, and not something you were stuck with when Enterprise ran out of full-size sedans.
There are two reasons for this: 1. Back in the day, the Dodge Caravan didn’t really have any competitors, so we didn’t really know that there were better options out there. Honda had the hinged-door Odyssey. Toyota had the weird-ass Previa. It was a mess; more importantly, 2. There were so many different versions of the Dodge Caravan that you were pretty much stuck buying a Dodge Caravan even if you actively avoided buying a Dodge Caravan.
Today, we are going to talk about an automobile called the Chevrolet Voltz. Never heard of it? Few have. That’s because it was one of the most bizarre and unusual rebadges of our entire automotive lives.
Today, we’re going to talk rebadges. I know what you’re thinking: a TTAC post about rebadges. Here comes an assault on General Motors. You can almost hear the GM PR department groaning, except for the recently departed Joel Ewanick, who doesn’t have time to groan because he’s too busy putting out a garage fire. But I’m going to leave GM out of this. Mostly. Instead, I’m going to focus on some of the more obscure rebadges from the last few decades. They were all badly conceived. Most were poorly executed. And none of them should’ve happened.
Hyundai made a proposal to Chrysler earlier this year under which the U.S. automaker would build a truck for Hyundai based on Chrysler’s Ram truck platform… Chrysler Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne rebuffed Hyundai’s initial approach in February… saying the automaker needs to focus on its established turnaround plans under Fiat SpA. But Hyundai continues to look at truck options and could come back to Chrysler, according to two of those with knowledge of the talks, who were not authorized to discuss the matter because the closed-door discussions were preliminary.
Ram sales were down 23 percent last month, down 20 percent calendar-year-to-date, and down 24.3 percent in rolling 12-month totals. Hyundai is doing just fine without a pickup. Chrysler may have been crazy to turn down a shot at easy volume (that might have gone to Nissan), but Hyundai would be crazier still to ask a second time. After all, Volkswagen’s Chrysler rebadge, the Routan minivan, has sold only 14,580 units in the last 12 months.
How could the whole Toyota iQ-rebadging situation get any more embarrassing for Aston-Martin? The answer is staring you in the face. The Aston Cygnet is rapidly becoming one for the history books [via Autocar.co.uk]
Saabsunited ran a recent piece by Sweden’s Dagensindustrie through Google Translate, and came out with a possible (and very old-GM) outcome for the new Epsilon II-based Saab 9-5:
According to Dagens Industri’s sources, GM is planning to use the new Saab 9-5: an own model program, including a future Buick in the U.S.. GM is also in a letter to Saab’s sub-contractors have estimated the time of closure of Saab to five years.
There are sources in Saab Automobile in the Dagens Industri – DI – indicates that GM now see positive opportunities to closure of Saab. By making use of Saab’s technology, tools and production equipment for GM use the new 9-5: an – that would be launched in the spring – to a future Buick in the U.S..
In the GM is also talk of exploiting Saab technology for the production of a new premium car for Opel, “says DI’s sources. It would then be about the reopening of the closed trial with an Opel Senator in Europe.
The AFP reports that Chrysler is “currently reconsidering how it uses major auto shows for revealing new vehicles and concepts,” by way of explaining why Chrysler has “nothing new” for the Detroit Auto Show. Spokesman Rick Denau explains “we’d like to do things closer to the on-sale date of the vehicles and most of our new stuff isn’t coming until the second half of the year.” In reality, Chrysler is pushing the limits of the possible with its attempt to re-work the Chrysler and Dodge lineups in record time. Except for the new 300 and Grand Cherokee which made ill-fated debuts in Chrysler’s “viability plan” Chrysler’s refreshed products won’t be ready for public consumption until shortly before they go on sale, and it’s still likely that some of those release dates could be pushed back. In the meantime, Fiat will rebadge a Lancia as a Chrysler for the Detroit show. Because that’s almost as good as showing a new model, and it’s certainly as good as it gets for Chrysler right now.
No wonder GM decided it couldn’t give up Opel… it would have lost Buick as well! Expect this Buick Excelle (a rebadged Opel Astra in the style of the new Regal) to arrive in the US under a different name (and probably in sedan form only) around the 2012 model year.