A rumor that began spreading last year seems to be borne out. Those whispers, which grew in volume after company executives failed to downplay the suggestion, hinted that Kia’s midsize Optima could see a name change for the 2021 model year.
Following its Hyundai Sonata sibling by a year, the radically redesigned midsizer could be the automaker’s last attempt to woo the American public and solidify its standing in the shrinking segment. At this point in the game, will a name change help at all? Maybe the better question is: would it hurt?
In its big February plant and product announcement, Fiat Chrysler said its Mack Avenue engine facility will give way to SUV production, describing the first vehicle to emerge from the repurposed plant as a “three-row, full-size Jeep SUV.” Given that the next-generation Grand Cherokee will also call the plant home, and that the two models will almost certainly share underpinnings, one would assume the three-row Jeep would carry a modified GC nameplate. Think Hyundai Santa Fe XL.
That’s been the assumption, anyway. However, the automaker’s CEO suggests a wholly new nameplate is in the works.
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.
As we told you yesterday, Volkswagen’s kiboshed plan for a next-generation Beetle isn’t as final as initially thought. Seems there’s still some people — CEO Herbert Diess most of all — who wish to see the model return, if for nothing else than “emotional” appeal. If it does, it won’t appear with gasoline propulsion and two side doors.
To return, first the model needs to die. Which, in the United States, anyway, is something the Beetle has done before. Many other nameplates have met an untimely, or perhaps very timely end. No longer right for their day and age, automakers lost interest and left some to wither on the vine; others met a quick death out of financial necessity.
The Beetle’s not alone in having many lives. Other nameplates disappeared, only to return again on a vastly different vehicle. Think of the Aspen. Pacifica. Eclipse (Cross!). Blazer. Which nameplate do you feel deserves a second (or third, or fourth) chance at life, just not in its original bodystyle?
Late last week we were treated (or suffered, depending on your point of view) with an appearance of a Chevy nameplate not seen on our roads since George W. was just taking office for the second time. The Blazer title holds special significance for this gearhead, as he spent his formative years bouncing around a blue-and-white 1978 model. The psychedelic herringbone seat pattern has been burned into my brain, perhaps explaining many of my incomprehensible behavior patterns.
So I took notice when The General hammered the Blazer name onto a crossover with front-drive roots. Today’s question is different from Friday’s in that we want to know what other refire of a historic name caused your eye to involuntarily twitch?
Sometimes, a car’s name accurately captures its spirit. Diablo. Testarossa. Golf. Okay, maybe not the last one. There are plenty of examples; even Silverado makes my list of machines whose identity matches the name carved into its trunk lid (or tailgate).
There are definitely some, though, that absolutely do not. This leads us to today’s question: what car (or truck) do you think is least likely to be found in the part of the world that bears its name?
No matter who you are or what status you hold in society, at some point in the past 34 years you did something in a Chevrolet Cavalier, and it was probably a lackluster experience (barring anything in the backseat, though even then…).
For reasons unknown, the nameplate that once summed up everything that was wrong with domestic compacts will return to the automotive landscape on a China-only Chevrolet model, GMInsideNews reports.
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