By on March 4, 2019

2018 Chevrolet Tahoe RST

There are occasions when human beings need a bit of time to get used to something, such as when your teenager suddenly dyes their hair purple or you are suddenly forced to buy new work boots because your old ones have completely collapsed. I have experienced 50 percent of these examples in the past week and will leave it to your speculation as to which one it is.

Something else your author needs time to assimilate? New car names slapped on machines introduced to replace an outgoing model. It’s the automotive equivalent of daytime soaps suddenly hiring a new actor to play the same character. It’s jarring.

Here’s today’s question: should OEMs introduce new names with their new cars? Or should they hang on to the tried-and-true? As you’d expect, I have a couple of opinions.

The rig atop is Exhibit A. Why in the name of Alfred P. Sloan top brass decided to bin the Blazer name in the mid-90s in favor of Tahoe remains a great mystery to your author. Sure, the smaller Blazer was still in production and was in the process of dropping its “S10” prefix, but given the name’s history, it would’ve made more sense for Blazer to be stuck on the larger truck.

2000 Ford Focus Kona Edition in California wrecking yard, Focus badge - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

There are times when it makes sense for a nameplate to go away, such as when Ford was trying to move their compact car game a bit further up the charts with its new-for-2000 effort twenty years ago. Focus worked because the Escort name had arguably earned a connotation for economy and cheapness, plus the Blue Oval wanted to align its model names from across the pond, at least to a point.

What nameplate to you think should have stuck around after a major revamp? Or are there any that did remain that needed to be relegated to the dustbin of automotive history?

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97 Comments on “QOTD: Long May You Run?...”


  • avatar
    EspritdeFacelVega

    I have long thought Chevrolet did themselves a disservice by keeping the Malibu and Impala names. The products are now fairly good or at least competitive, but most would-be buyers would be old enough to remember the crud that wore those names in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Ford at least knew to scrap Escort and Tempo…

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      They definitely should have dropped the Malibu name instead of applying it to a FWD crapcan, but, from my own personal experience with my mom’s ’78 Malibu Classic, I’d say that name was already mud.

    • 0 avatar
      Blackcloud_9

      When I first read your post, my knee-jerk reaction was “Wow, he’s (or she) wrong.” The Impala name has a long and mostly fondly remembered history. However, when I was recently looking for a large comfortable sedan for myself, I told my wife I was considering a 2017ish Impala. The response was “No, absolutely not! I’m not riding in anything with the name Impala on it.”
      Mind you we already have a Chevy Volt in the garage which she absolutely loves driving.
      Her perception of an Impala being cheap old-man version of a car had been cemented into her psyche and unless I was going to put her into the car blind-folded it wasn’t going to change.

    • 0 avatar

      Impala for me associates with well regarded full size RWD cars of 50s-60s. So for me it does not carry negative connotations.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    I will go to my grave thinking Chevy SS was the stupidest name ever bestowed upon a car. And I still bought one.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      I could not agree with you more regarding the name of the SS. I always thought when Pontiac died it should have continued on as a Buick Grand National.

      GM has several names in their arsenal that could have been used for this car. However, having driven and rode in an SS…who cares about the name. They are absolutely fantastic vehicles!

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        -Caprice SS

        -Chevelle SS (Hey if Dodge can make the Charger a 4 door, why not?)

        -Impala SS (Yeah some people might be confused, but just SS is confusing too)

        -Commodore SS (A nod to those Holden fans in the know)

        Or as you say, Grand National. I think that might have helped perceptions of the car too, given that people were up in arms over a $50K Chevy sedan.

        • 0 avatar
          Jeff Weimer

          There were 4-door Chevelles back in the day, so not really a problem.

          They could have even hung the Nova name on it, it had been long enough since the NUMMI-mobile and the even earlier compact/intermediate days and anyway back then they were close relatives of the Camaro like the SS was too.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Commodore should have been the name, GM took the Camaro to Australia and kept the Chevy Bow tie on the front saying it was due to the legacy of the car it deserved to retain its badges. The Commodore was a way bigger part of the Aus market than the Camaro ever was to America and they quickly tossed the Commodore name and Holden badging when brought over.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff Weimer

        It should have been the Impala, and the front-driver the Caprice, but they’d been Impala for over a decade at that point so….

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Agreed. Chevelle would have been just fine. There were 4 door Chevelles in the past, hell even a wagon back in the day. Why they chose SS is beyond me. They even brought back “Caprice” for the minuscule sales of the police version.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      They’d have probably gotten away with the SS’ name if its’ advertising budget had been more than fifty bucks. That car was criminally mis-marketed.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    It depends, if a car has a good reputation and is a respected name, keep it. If the name is attached to something old and stale or a car plagued with problems it’s best to drop it

    Do you think Ford will ever bring back the Edsel? We may see the Taurus again

  • avatar
    turbo_awd

    Infiniti’s “make everything Q” – why in the world?

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Yes they win the stupid award here. Especially after having the “G” coupe and sedan as a recognized name with a good reputation. While the G35 and G37 where named after engine displacement if they wanted a new G model they could have just used G39 and at least people would have know what it is. Instead I have to explain to everyone that my wife’s Q60 is actually a G37. So stupid!

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Matthew, I can see the logic in switching the name from Blazer to Tahoe. The Blazer was a short wheelbase, two-door SUV, and the Blazer name (at least to me) didn’t make sense on a longer, four-door vehicle. And yes, I know that they made small four-door (S-10) Blazers.

    • 0 avatar
      texan01

      I hated when a customer came in to the parts store I worked at, asking for parts for a Blazer… I had to get really specific on which one it was as a lot of times the customers didn’t know any better.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I have always thought the imports have done a much better job managing their nomenclature, sans the afore the mentioned Infiniti their naming is silly. Toy, Honda, Nissan have always remained consistent which I appreciate.

    Why did FCA drop the Town & Country for the Pacifica? Honestly this makes zero sense to me, the previous Pacifica sold for crap, you are not fooling anyone regarding the new Pacifica, it is a Town & Country minivan with another name. I have mentioned numerous times how much I like the platform, so I am not knocking the vehicle at all. FCA should be proud of the Town & Country lineage and the profits it brought to the company. Same with making RAM a brand. Dodge is a great name, I owned a Dodge Ram 2500, the Dodge part was integral to the naming; it is as if FCA had ownership of the sign and paper company who re-did all of the dealers signage and stationary.

    • 0 avatar
      Rocket

      I definitely agree on the Pacifica. The Japanese have let a few good ones get away, however. I never understood why Toyota used Avalon instead of Cressida for their US flagship sedan, or why they didn’t resurrect the Celica name when they killed off Scion, electing to use 86 instead. And I would have much rather seen a Prelude in Honda’s lineup than the Accord Coupe. I never liked Pathfinder for people-mover, either. That name is now forever tainted.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        You make a great point on the whole Scion thing. Toyota had some great names to dust off that could have been used. I forgot about the Prelude, you are correct that would have been a great moniker for the Accord Coupe as they really don’t look like an Accord from the outside.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          But there had almost always been an actual Accord Coupe sold alongside the Prelude, so they’re staying consistent in that sense. Heck I’m just thankful that Honda kept making an Accord Coupe, available with a V6+6spd manual for as long as they did!

          • 0 avatar
            Jeff Weimer

            Only since 1988 has there been an Accord coupe. The 2-doors previously had always been hatchbacks.

            It’s arguable that 1) the Prelude *was* an Accord coupe given the closely related nature of the two products (at least early on), and

            2) The Accord Coupe made the Prelude redundant for most buyers and ultimately caused Honda to discontinue it.

  • avatar
    jatz

    Stick/revert to nouns, maybe some adjectives.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Toyota’s may be appliances of the automotive world but I’d say they’re exhibit A in the automotive world for pick a name, refine the product generation after generation.

    How old is the name Corolla?

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Weimer

      They’ve never – so far – let a product out that was so hideous that it irreparably damaged the name so much that it was necessary to try to create fresh good will with a mulligan.

      • 0 avatar
        1500cc

        What was the reasoning for replacing Tercel with Yaris? I thought Tercel had pretty good brand equity.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        Names almost never go bad or get stale, only the vehicles they are attached to go bad or go stale. If the Vega or Pinto hadn’t been total crap, Chevy and Ford could still have small cars using those names, just like Toyota still uses Corolla (since 1966), Honda still uses Civic (since 1972), and VW still uses Golf (since 1974). Instead, Chevy has had to spend millions extra educating the buying public about the new Cavalier, Cobolt, and Cruze, while hoping they will forget the craptastic predecessor of each. Good product will make almost any name good, bad product will make any good name bad.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          It’s funny that in the US, where the Golf is perpetually trying to fight off a total POS reputation, VW has changed its name a few times. First it was Rabbit, then Golf, then Rabbit again, then Golf again. Right now, the VW website is pushing Rabbit edition GTIs.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Weimer

      They’ve never – so far – let a product out that was so hideous that it irreparably damaged the name so much that it was necessary to try to create fresh good will with a mulligan.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “How old is the name Corolla?”

      Old enough that in about 14 years, Mr. Corolla can start drawing a social security check.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    As a former owner of 91 Probe Lx, 93 Probe GT, I was a bit embarassed to tell people involved in healthcare I drove a Probe.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    “teenager suddenly dyes their hair”

    My eighth grade English teacher just rolled over in her grave.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    It comes down to how good the outgoing cars are. Companies that consistently make good cars, like Toyota and Honda, keep their model names. They have brand equity. Sadly, Honda is in the process of consuming that equity. The other side of the coin are companies that routinely make awful cars. Chevrolet used up any good will that the Vega had, that the Chevette had, that the Citation had, that the Celebrity had, that the Monza had, that the Corsica had, that the Beretta had, that the Lumina had, that the Monte Carlo had, that the Cavalier had, that the Cobalt had, that…ad infinitum. Ford Falcons developed the stigma of poverty, as did the Maverick, the Pinto, and the Escort. The Granada, the Tempo and the LTD were the worst sorts of rental cars, and their names had to go to give the next cars a chance to fail on their own. The corollary to all this was Chrysler replacing the respected and superb Valiant and Dart with the deeply flawed Volare and Aspen. It was nice of them not to ruin the names of their best products with the mediocrity they’d devolve to.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I applaud Lincoln’s decision to start using proper names instead of letter combinations. Nautilus, Continental and Navigator (which I realize has been around for a while) sound evergreen and luxurious. However, the upcoming Corsair—which will replace the MKC as Lincoln’s compact crossover and entry-level product—sounds stodgy, and from a by-gone era. And it is. Ford of Britain uses that name way back when.

    Anyway, I think the Corsair should have been called something else.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I agree, the name “Corsair” sounds like a cross between a rear-engine Chevy and a WWII bomber, of course the “Corvette” is still a strong name

  • avatar
    Luke42

    I really don’t care if cars are renamed after a platform change or a change in design philosophy. I’m happy to let the marketing people do what they will.

    I will say, though, that I grew up with a strong dislike for the Ford Explorers of the 1990s, because I felt they were wasteful and poorly matched to their Suburban family hauling duties. (There was nothing wrong with the engineering — I owned a Ranger on the same platform; I just felt the explorer should be used for truck stuff, not minivan stuff). However, the 2020 Ford Explorer plugin hybrid looks like it might fit my people hauling and towing needs quite nicely. The name still makes me wince. But I don’t want to be my school-friend’s 1990s soccer dad. I’d rather drive a minivan than be that guy!

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Names are retired when most of the brand equity associated with that name has gone negative.

    Ford ceased using the Pinto name because the Pinto brand was forever tainted by the fuel tank controversy. Chevy retired the Vega name because that brand was ruined by krappy engines and rust that started before the car made it into the first owner’s garage.

    There are no Neons or Callibers in production today for the same reaons. No, we will never see another Rondo either.

    Conversely, Toyota keeps the Corolla moniker for its compact offering because those cars are viewed as good solid value that last for years even if the hood is welded shut. Same with F150.

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    From this side of the pond, Focus came about because the 1990-> Euro Ford Escort was a bit of a lemon, critically panned. It had previously been a big seller, but it got a bad reputation. It had a couple of facelifts, but by the mid 90s Ford needed something new, better, forward looking. The Focus name was used for the totally new looking car, at least in part because it was sold alongside the Euro Escort for a couple of years, as Ford were worried about a Sierra-style backlash.

    The Escort had been one of the few names, in Europe, to survive moving from a RWD sedan to a FWD hatchback.

    However when they came to replace the Cortina/Taunus – 1970s Ford Europe’s bread and butter car – they changed the name with the aero styled revolutionary Sierra (sports version sold as Merkur XR4Ti, the basic car was similar to the Ford Tempo). When this was replaced by a FWD cabover-style car it was renamed again to Mondeo, a name which has stuck (Contour 1st gen, Fusion for 4th gen).

    Some markets continue a name while others change. Ford UK kept the Granada name for their (euro large) 1985 big car despite it switching from a sedan to Sierra-style hatchback. In Europe the Granada became the Scorpio, while UK kept the Granada name with Scorpio becoming a trim. (Merkur Scorpio for US). The later ‘bug eyed’ sedan was Scorpio across the board.

    At GM it backfired a little, the J-car Cavalier / Ascona of the late 80s was replaced by an aero-styled car. The UK kept the name Vauxhall Cavalier, while Europe got the Opel Vectra. When this was replaced with a similar styled, mildly updated, car, it got panned in the UK as it was thought of as a whole brand new car thanks to the name, but with few improvements over the Cavalier, while in Europe it was just an evolution of the previous Vectra.

    To me, if cars are similar in terms of size, style, layout, market then they should keep the name. Though I think the latest generation of Civic should’ve been renamed as it has grown in size, in Europe it is a defacto replacement for the Accord.

    Peugeot used to have a nice system where they had a relative model size eg. 10x, 40x, with a generation number eg. 104, 406. They had 2 issues – when they suddenly had ‘niche’ vehicles to market ie. SUVs – solved by using ’00’ names eg. 4007, then when they reached the x08 replacement they were going to rollover the 308 to the 309, a name they used in the 1980s for the rebadged Talbot Horizon (Dodge Omni / Plymouth Horizon) that suddenly became an out-of-band Peugeot. So they’re stuck with x08 for western markets and introduced x01 for ‘developing’ markets.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    @WallMeercat: The only similarity between the Tempo and the Sierra was the blue oval badge. The Tempo teetered around on Escort suspension with a transversely-mounted four cylinder pushrod engine created by chopping two cylinders off of a 1959 vintage economy mill.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      The Tempo had fully independent suspension, the Escort did not. But, I’m glad this article gave you a chance to rant pointlessly about how awful all the cars you know nothing about were.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        The first generation North American/3rd generation European Ford Escort had independent rear suspension. Maybe the reason you like Fords and I don’t is because I actually know about them.

        https://www.motorarticlesorg.com/2017/04/05/throwback-thursday-1981-ford-escort-estate-1-6-l-road-test/

    • 0 avatar

      Tempo later switched to Taurus based suspension.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    This whole alphanumeric / non-alphanumeric car name debate is lost on me. If a car drives the way I want it to, they could call it just about anything.

    (Well, maybe not “Horst Wessel” or “Smegma.”)

  • avatar
    JLGOLDEN

    Some names carry imagery and (general) positivity with them. Ford Explorer and Chevy Suburban comes to mind here. Not that every possible Explorer or Suburban has been a super-reliable dream machine for every buyer, but the *names* stick and are known by EVERY household. But how about cars which totally change mission/form yet use a historical name? Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross. Cute car, but lots of frivolous “controversy” on what is once was versus what it is today.

  • avatar
    JLGOLDEN

    Ford has done well with lasting names: F-150, Explorer, Escape, Mustang, and Taurus. Soon we get a new Bronco. All of these names are well-known, even as each model evolves through its generational cycles. Let’s see if Ford can craftily reuse “Taurus” or even “Thunderbird” again one day. I think there’s still some juice to be squeezed from that (name equity) fruit.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Nope. Corolla is the only old and successful nameplate in existence. Haven’t you read the comments thus far?

      • 0 avatar
        JLGOLDEN

        Corolla is a lovely and enduring piece, and it sells as reliably as the bible. It is one few small cars I would ever buy, thanks. But the Ford nameplates I mention have done well to last multiple generations and have household recognition – even amongst “non-car” people like say…my Mom. I am not claiming the Ford nameplates have the BEST sales data or longest-lasting titles.

        • 0 avatar

          “Corolla is a lovely and enduring piece” of sheet. I agree this far. It is the last car I would be interested in. I wonder if it still sells in Europe. I will be surprised if it does better than cheapest econobox from Kia. Americans will buy any POS if it is reliable enough.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I wish we’d get a new Thunderbird. I thought Ford had lost the rights to some of their classic namplates like Fairlane and Galaxie.

  • avatar
    James2

    And sometimes “the fans” decide what a car will be called. I had a ’96 Probe GT (miss it terribly) and if it weren’t for the faithful it would have been called a Mustang. In this case, I think the fans were right; Mustangs shouldn’t be front-drive with the most powerful engine a small V-6.

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    If a car is well-received, I don’t see any reason not to keep applying it to a vehicle that continues to fulfill the mission profile that it’s known for.

    But if you’re trying to enter a new market niche or reposition an existing vehicle, then a new name makes sense.

    This is particularly why I think FCA retired Town & Country — in my mind a decision that is simultaneously smart and stupid. Smart because clearly they’re trying to push the new Pacifica upmarket and I think it was necessary to break the idea that the T&C is just a tarted-up Caravan. Stupid because Chrysler could really do with a nicely-appointed crossover which would have been a much better use of the Pacifica name.

    Also, I feel bad for Chevrolet specifically when it comes to the Vega. GM did all the development without any input from any of the divisions then handed it to Chevy and basically said “you have to build and sell this next year”. Assuming everything DeLorean said about the Vega is true, I wonder in retrospect whether it would have been better if he had just shrugged and let it fail spectacularly at launch rather than rally the troops and challenge them to make it work. That kind of “tough love” probably would have sank his career but it might have gotten GM to wake up and smell the coffee a bit sooner…

  • avatar
    someoldfool

    What am I missing here? 2 longest models for sale here are Corvette, 1953, and Mustang, 1964. Granted there was one year of no Corvette but it wasn’t that the model was discontinued. And the unfortunate Mustang II, less said about that the better. Continental doesn’t qualify I suppose but the name has been around longer than Corvette.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    One thing I have never quite understood was the idea of putting the same name on two different vehicle types. Three that come to mind are the Lumina/Lumina (van), Accord/Accord Crosstour, Taurus/TaurusX. I understand trying to capitalize on the success of a nameplate, but, much like I dislike the idea of Juniors, I feel cars should have their own chance to shine.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Lumina APV was the van BTW. Supposed to have stood for All Purpose Vehicle.

      I thought it was silly when Chrysler started adding a “K” badge to some of the K car variants just to remind you of the lineage.

      • 0 avatar
        WildcatMatt

        At one point in the early 80s, wasn’t something like 75% of Oldsmobile models called a “Cutlass” of some flavor?

        • 0 avatar
          theflyersfan

          Let’s see, and this is just off of the top of my head.
          Through at least the late 1980s-early 1990s:
          Cutlass Supreme
          Cutlass Ciera (made immortal in “Fargo”)
          Cutlass Calais
          Cutlass Cruiser battle wagon
          And then they had the 88/98 models

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    I think the Toyota thing goes deeper than the naming. Take the modern Camry (say from mid-90’s) for example. In a sense, the ‘idea’ of the Camry stays the same and the platform revisions don’t completely change that.

    (With the Porsche 911, the basic design is almost ‘locked in’ and there are continual refinements.)

    Contrast this with GM jumping all over the map changing the styling/size/naming, always hoping for the next big thing/leapfrog/breakthrough… but then little follow-up – next major model will break the mold again.

    Feedback loop is a real thing and has potential benefits.

  • avatar
    PwrdbyM

    At this point I don’t even get picky, just name it something…anything, rather than another alphanumeric! IS350, CTS, XT4, QX60, RDX, MP4-12C, CX-5…just stop!

    • 0 avatar
      theflyersfan

      Still fuming about Mazda making it official a few years back by dropping the Miata and just calling it the MX-5. The Miata (at the time) had over 25 years of solid name recognition and to attempt to try to rename it verged on the sacrilegious. Of course we all know it’s still a Miata, the dealers still call it a Miata, so who cares what the badge reads on the trunk lid? But if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
      That would be like Chevy suddenly dumping the Corvette name and going alphanumeric on the new one. Torches and pitchforks anyone?
      And would it kill Acura to bring back Legend, Vigor, and Integra?

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        It wouldn’t kill em’, but you and I both no the Legend and Vigor would be crossovers and the Integra would be a disappointment (unless it was a Civic Type R in a body that didn’t look stupid.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        I agree about the Miata, also I often confuse the MX-5 with the CX-5

      • 0 avatar
        WildcatMatt

        I get the idea of having an alphanumeric so you can have a global nameplate which may or may not mean something in a given location; it has to simplify rolling up data from multiple regions so marketing and sales doesn’t have to translate model names to chassis codes, etc.

        But having a localized “real” name as part of a submodel seems reasonable. “MX5 Miata” seemed a perfect compromise: Global identifier plus familiar market name. Then people can remove whichever half of the “RLX Legend” trunk badge offends them.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      And I’m cool with letters and numbers if the mean something…325is for example told me all I needed to know about the car. As did SC400. Now they are pretty random, even at BMW and Infinity is giberish.

      • 0 avatar
        WildcatMatt

        Particularly egregious is Volvo’s recent decoupling of “T5” from its traditional indication of “Turbo 5-cylinder”, whether the replacement 4cyl is supposed to provide equivalent performance or not.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    I wish some of the nameplates from dead brands could get another shot. Cougar, Firebird, Tempest, Cutlass, and maybe Comet

  • avatar
    Ermel

    Volkswagen offers a good example of the theory that the more successful the car, the likelier it will keep its name, with the Golf and the Jetta.

    In the US, as someone mentioned, the Golf went Rabbit -> Golf -> Rabbit Golf, and the GTI is not called a Golf either I believe, while the more popular Jetta always remained the Jetta. In Europe, it’s the other way round: Golfs always were and will be Golfs, but the Jetta went Jetta -> Vento -> Bora -> Jetta (and now finally has gone extinct because people just don’t buy midsize VW sedans).

    There’s another nameplate that successfully made the transition from RWD sedan to FWD hatchback: the Opel Kadett. But there’s a funny f*ck*p to be told there: the last RWD Kadett was the Vauxhall Chevette in Britain, and the first FWD one was the Vauxhall Astra (with the Chevette soldiering on alongside and even being exported to Germany as the Opel Chevette). Now, both Opel and Vauxhall have alphanumeric model designators, with the last RWD model being the Kadett C. Logically, the first FWD one became the Opel Kadett D, but the Vauxhall Astra A — new car, new name, start over. Its successor was the Kadett E/Astra B. And then Opel decided to name the next car Astra too. However you’d decide, you’d end up with an inconsistency now. They decided to name that new car the Astra F (because successor to the Kadett E), so that there were no Astras C..E, and Astras A+B only in Britain.

    • 0 avatar

      ” Jetta (and now finally has gone extinct because people just don’t buy midsize VW sedans)”

      I could hardly call Bora or Jetta for that matter midsize sedans. Even Passat was on compact side of midsize car like Mondeo and A4 were. Midsize size cars were e.g. Scorpio and A6 and VW did not make any because in Europe they are considered to be large executive class luxury cars. That is the reason Ford eventually dropped Scorpio and wanted to bring Lincoln LS as a executive class Ford sedan to Europe. Eventually Mondeo grew up in size as well as American Passat did to become midsize sedans suited more for USA tastes than European. For Europe they are too large on one side and cannot compete with Audi and other luxury brands. I wonder if Ford still sells Mondeo in Europe and if it is killed along with Fusion in US.

      • 0 avatar
        Ermel

        Being German, I used “midsize” in the European sense. Passat and Mondeo, both of which are alive and kicking, are considered large sedans here. (There aren’t many larger ones. The Skoda Superb, based on an elongated Passat/MQB platform, comes to mind.) Scorpio, long dead, used to play that role with Ford, but Mondeo was smaller then than it is today, I think.

        Volkswagen did make a large executive luxury sedan, though. Remember Phaeton?

        Audi, BMW, and Mercedes seem to be measured differently. I’ve heard them being called “compact premium” (A4/3/C), “midsize premium” (A6/5/E), and “large premium” or “luxury” sedans (A8/7/S). All of which of course is more a matter of image than it is of actual qualities of the cars in question; the main difference these days seems to be the availability of more-than-four-cylinder engines. (No, there aren’t any V6 Volkswagens except for the Touareg and the Amarok in Europe.)

        • 0 avatar

          Mondeo used to be Euro size midsize sedan. Now it grew up to American midsize proportions and I do not think it is well suited for Europe anymore esp sedan version since sedan lack practicality of hatchback. But I am more than sure that Ford makes or made Mondeo hatchback as well as wagon in Europe.

          I pass by Ford Contour (American version of Mondeo) every day on our street and it is very small car, in size similar to Ford Focus. And it does not look like well build like e.g. Audi A4 of same period, in other words was not competitive with Audi or BMW or Mercedes.

          For those who don’t understand size hierarchy in Europe – in Europe there is additional size category between compact car and midsize car, let’s call it European midsize car. You can consider it as a compact size car but with longer wheelbase. E.g. I had Toyota Carina II. It had longer wheelbase than Corolla, better appointed and better styled too but otherwise similar. But it was much smaller than Camry. You may think why not just buy Corolla or Camry. In my case I passed Camry because it was too large for roads and parking space we had in our town and it comes with 2.0L engine which triggers increased property tax and fuel consumption. In other words was not very practical. And also is too expensive (because of sales tax too). Corolla on the other hand is a cheap transportation, has a prestige of rental car, no space in back seat. So I was looking for intermediate size car like Audi A4, Mondeo, Carina, Accord, Mazda 626 and etc. with engine size 1.6L or 1.8L (1.8L is almost like 2.0L but with lower tax).

  • avatar

    BTW regarding passenger car classification in US and Europe, just to make my previous comments clear:

    In US cars classify this way (combined passenger and cargo volume in cubic feet (liters)):

    Minicompact < 85 (2407)
    Subcompact 85–99.9 (2407–2831)
    Compact 100–109.9 (2832–3114)
    Mid-Size 110–119.9 (3115–3397)
    Large ≥ 120 (3398)

    European market

    USA analogue In Europe NCAP Examples

    Minicompact Supermini/A-segment Fiat 500, Renault Twingo
    Subcompact Supermini/B-segment Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio, VW Polo

    Compact car Small/C-segment medium cars/Golf class Ford Focus, VW Golf – until recently most popular segment – now subcompacts are most popular

    Mid-size Large car/D-segment Mondeo, Passat, A4, 3 series, Buick Regal

    Mid-size Executive/E-segment A6, 5 series, E-Class, Scorpio, Omega

    Full-size Large Executive/F-segment Buick LaCross, Chrysler 300, BMW 7 Series,Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8

    As you can see in Europe midsize is not defined by interior volume but rather luxury/non-luxury thing. E class is not that bigger than Fusion but they belong to different sectors

  • avatar

    You get impression that the holy Toyota never renames its models because they are incarnations of perfect automobile. That is not the case actually. In Europe particularly Toyota sold Corona based large compact sedan/hatchback as a Carina from 70s until end of 90s: Carina, Carina II, Carina E (E for “Europe”). Next model year 2000+ it was renamed to Avensis. Carina did not do well apparently. Toyota dropped Camry entirely because D-segment did not sell well and especially Camry and Accord did not cater to European tastes.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Corsair was originally the name used for the next to the top model of Edsel.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edsel_Corsair

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