QOTD: Yea or Nay to the Blazer Name Game?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd yea or nay to the blazer name game

It seems there were no shortage of comments left on our 2019 Chevrolet Blazer story after it went up last night. Sorry for keeping you all up, feverishly pounding those keys. But could there not be? The decision to resurrect a fairly fondly remembered name and apply it to a less-rugged vehicle was bound to spark controversy. Twitter, that bastion of right-thinking hot takes, was aflame.

You can’t always get what you want, some might say. The middle ground in Chevy’s crossover space is too lucrative to field anything other than what we got. Sure, the model isn’t what us die-hards hoped for, they’d say, but a two-door, body-on-frame SUV just doesn’t fly, and the development costs and resulting MSRP would place it outside the hole Chevy intended to fill.

Screw that, others might say. Ever heard of the Bronco? No one shoved a .38 in the small of Chevy’s back, forcing it to dust off the Blazer name for this particular model.

Amazingly, especially given my very GM-centric upbringing, I have no experience with a Blazer, though I have spent time in a first-generation Jimmy (front-mounted spare, white Tremclad bumpers) and an Envoy. For the first model especially, “indestructable” is the word that first comes to mind.

Heritage holds weight, so it’s little wonder Chevy decided to go with a nameplate that carries significant name recognition. For the same reason, it’s no wonder why many are upset. By calling this midsize, unibody crossover the Blazer, GM made it clear we’re not going to see a latter-day revival of the BOF ute in showrooms anytime soon, if ever. Ford went in a different direction when it opted to return the Bronco name on a 2020 BOF SUV (we’re waiting, with bated breath, to see just how faithful this model actually is).

If there’s no plan to ever fill that same SUV space again, why not make use of available historic names? Something new doesn’t erase the past, it just clouds the memory. And sales remain unaffected by words (unless those words are “recall,” “unreliable,” and “explosion”). Plenty of shoppers are bound to like what they see in the new Blazer, and they won’t galloping into the showroom simply because of a returning nameplate.

On the same note, a person with absolutely no desire to ever own a midsize crossover will continue keeping his or her distance from midsize crossovers. Advantage: GM.

So, how about it? Do you still feel stung, or have you gotten over it already? Or do you care at all what GM does with a name like Blazer?

[Image: General Motors]

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2 of 58 comments
  • 2000ChevyImpalaLS 2000ChevyImpalaLS on Jun 22, 2018

    Those who say the K5 was replaced by the S-series Blazer forget that the K-5 Blazer stayed around in it's most recognizable (squarebody) form through 1991, and became the Tahoe when folks decided 4 doors were better than 2, but a Suburban was just too much. But the smaller Blazer was a pretty decent machine itself. I still see plenty of them around, decades after they went out of production, so GM must've gotten something right. I've looked in to buying one a time or two. I've mentioned this before, but my first vehicle was a '78 K-5. I loved that truck. I'm not thrilled with the idea of putting the Blazer name on an _UV, but I won't lose any sleep over it, either. And honestly, neither will anyone here. I hope they at least offer a 4WD/AWD version.

  • WildcatMatt WildcatMatt on Jul 11, 2018

    My gut reaction is that yes, I would like the resurrection of old nameplates be reasonably related to the original or at least best-known iteration of the original. So yeah, I don't really want to see a bland _UV with the Wildcat appellation. That being said, Aspen seemed like a decent SUV name despite it having nothing in common with the F-body original. And remember that the Voyager was a full-size van and the Town & Country was a station wagon before they were minivans. As far as destroying nameplate brand equity, you can be sure Chevy focus-grouped this to within an inch of its life. If it was likely a majority of buyers would reject the name, they would have left it mothballed.

  • Nrd515 I bought an '88 S10 Blazer with the 4.3. We had it 4 years and put just about 48K on it with a bunch of trips to Nebraska and S. Dakota to see relatives. It had a couple of minor issues when new, a piece of trim fell off the first day, and it had a seriously big oil leak soon after we got it. The amazinly tiny starter failed at about 40K, it was fixed under some sort of secret warranty and we got a new Silverado as a loaner. Other than that, and a couple of tires that blew when I ran over some junk on the road, it was a rock. I hated the dash instrumentation, and being built like a gorilla, it was about an inch and a half too narrow for my giant shoulders, but it drove fine, and was my second most trouble free vehicle ever, only beaten by my '82 K5 Blazer, which had zero issues for nearly 50K miles. We sold the S10 to a friend, who had it over 20 years and over 400,000 miles on the original short block! It had a couple of transmissions, a couple of valve jobs, a rear end rebuild at 300K, was stolen and vandalized twice, cut open like a tin can when a diabetic truck driver passed out(We were all impressed at the lack of rust inside the rear quarters at almost 10 years old, and it just went on and on. Ziebart did a good job on that Blazer. All three of his sons learned to drive in it, and it was only sent to the boneyard when the area above the windshield had rusted to the point it was like taking a shower when it rained. He now has a Jeep that he's put a ton of money into. He says he misses the S10's reliablity a lot these days, the Jeep is in the shop a lot.
  • Jeff S Most densely populated areas have emission testing and removing catalytic converters and altering pollution devices will cause your vehicle to fail emission testing which could effect renewing license plates. In less populated areas where emission testing is not done there would probably not be any legal consequences and the converter could either be removed or gutted both without having to buy specific parts for bypassing emissions. Tampering with emission systems would make it harder to resell a vehicle but if you plan on keeping the vehicle and literally running it till the wheels fall off there is not much that can be done if there is no emission testing. I did have a cat removed on a car long before mandatory emission testing and it did get better mpgs and it ran better. Also had a cat gutted on my S-10 which was close to 20 years old which increased performance and efficiency but that was in a state that did not require emission testing just that reformulated gas be sold during the Summer months. I would probably not do it again because after market converters are not that expensive on older S-10s compared to many of the newer vehicles. On newer vehicles it can effect other systems that are related to the operating and the running of the vehicle. A little harder to defeat pollution devices on newer vehicles with all the systems run by microprocessors but if someone wants to do it they can. This law could be addressing the modified diesels that are made into coal rollers just as much as the gasoline powered vehicles with cats. You probably will still be able to buy equipment that would modify the performance of a vehicles as long as the emission equipment is not altered.
  • ToolGuy I wonder if Vin Diesel requires DEF.(Does he have issues with Sulfur in concentrations above 15ppm?)
  • ToolGuy Presented for discussion: https://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper2/thoreau/civil.html
  • Kevin Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?