Tag: Heritage

By on March 13, 2020

2016 Dodge Durango Grille and Badge, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

Model names usually remain the property of their original owner. The trademark gets renewed again and again, long after the vehicle bearing the name shuffles into retirement, lest it fall into someone else’s hands.

In this case, three automakers have placed the name somewhere on a vehicle.

That name is Hornet, and recent U.S., Canadian, and Mexican trademark applications show that Fiat Chrysler — and especially the Dodge brand — wants to keep it secure. But why? (Read More…)

By on February 27, 2020

2016 Chevrolet Impala LTZ Detroit - Image: GM

Mark this date on your calendar or, should you be so inclined, in your diary. Today — February 27th, 2020 — marks the end of the Chevrolet Impala.

Some 62 years after its launch, the last Impala sedan will roll off the line Thursday at General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, The Detroit News reports. A very different future awaits both the factory and the industry, and it seems cars like the Impala have no role to play in it.

It’s been a long time coming. (Read More…)

By on February 27, 2020

PSA Group

No, this question has nothing to do with a certain Subaru; rather, it’s a call to gaze into the past while still keeping an eye on the present.

Retro styling cues, little design nods to a model’s heritage, are common in the auto industry, but the practice normally takes a one-size-fits-all approach. In other words, a storied nameplate dons a retro or near-retro design encompassing the entire body. Think Mustang, Challenger, or the upcoming Bronco.

Alternatively, an automaker can go the sneaky route, slipping in a single cue from the past to keep that tenuous link intact. What’s your favourite example of this… or can you even think of one? (Read More…)

By on January 20, 2020

Nothing lasts forever. Not even, apparently, the Morgan Plus 4 — a low-slung, quintessentially British roadster that started production in 1950 and still looks looks like it comes from a land of postwar rationing. Beneath the 2020 Plus 4 lies the same ladder frame that underpinned the first Plus 4, which arrived on the scene when Betty White was just 29.

You won’t find many 2020 Plus 4 models. Just 20 commemorative examples are planned as Morgan gears up to enter the modern age. (Read More…)

By on January 14, 2020

The pending return of Hummer to the GM stable in the form of an electric pickup is such a perfectly 2020 thing, considering Ford’s recent decision to bestow the Mustang name on its upcoming EV crossover. However, the nameplate’s reported resurrection comes not in the form of a brand, but as a lone model bundled under an existing marque (GMC).

That’s something to think about. When Matthew Guy asked yesterday what defunct brand we’d most like to see return, no doubt most of you mentioned Viking or Marquette. Maybe Oakland or LaSalle. Geo, perhaps. Canadian readers probably yearn for a return of Acadian and Beaumont.

A few of you may have even mentioned Hummer. (Read More…)

By on January 10, 2020

The much-rumored return of Hummer to the General Motors fold is apparently a go.

According to sources who spoke to The Wall Street Journal, GM has purchased hyper-expensive ad time during next month’s Super Bowl game, during which it plans to reveal its intent to resurrect the name of once loved (and equally derided) brand. It won’t be a brand, however. (Read More…)

By on January 7, 2020

Not Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, mind you, but Chrysler. The brand. The maker of such diverse nameplates as the 300, which debuted in 2004, or the Pacifica and its ilk. Or the — wait, no, that’s it.

It’s easy to poke fun at Chrysler The Brand these days, what with Jeep and Ram doing the heavy lifting in terms of sales. As Matthew Guy recently told you, Ram bench-pressed some exceptionally heavy stacks this past year, sailing to new sales heights on the strength of two full-size pickups and a new HD model. Chrysler, barely mentioned in FCA’s recent five-year product plan, sunk to its lowest standing in decades.

Get this brand a new product that’s not just a variant of an existing minivan. (Read More…)

By on December 18, 2019

GM Canada

Canada had just turned 40 and Teddy Roosevelt was running a zoo out of the White House when the first automobiles rolled out of Oshawa, Ontario.

Starting in 1907, Oshawa built vehicles of the McLaughlin Motor Car Company, with the cars carrying Buick drivetrains shipped in from Flint, Michigan. An early alliance! Thank the close friendship between Sam McLaughlin and William Durant for that partnership. The Chevrolet brand set up shop at the lakeside assembly plant not long thereafter, and in 1918 General Motors of Canada Limited was formed from McLaughlin and Chevrolet Canada.

Fast-forward 101 years, and the last GM vehicle has left the factory. Workers put the finishing touches on the final vehicle today. (Read More…)

By on December 13, 2019

Cadillac may be embarking on a nail-biting journey with its electrification plan, but its naming strategy could prove considerably less rocky. Or not. Announced Thursday in Detroit, the premium brand’s evolution to emissions-free status will coincide with a return of actual model names for new vehicles — a move many Cadillac watchers have long hoped for.

Yes, the alphabet soup that comprised all but one member of the Caddy clan will fall by the wayside, replaced by real words. Names that mean something, that stimulate emotion. Ford thought it necessary. Can you guess what we’re going to ask today? (Read More…)

By on December 9, 2019

1993 Plymouth Voyager in Colorado wrecking yard , hood ornament - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

As the automotive industry fluxes towards utility vehicles and electrics, the death of familiar nameplates has become an all-too-common occurrence. Goodbye, Focus, Fiesta, Taurus, LaCrosse, and Regal. And goodbye, too, to the Ultradrive four-speed automatic transmission, which meets its end in the coming year.

The Pentastar-stamped unit — seemingly older than Kirk Douglas’ dad — meets its maker after a lengthy career managing power in a dizzying array of models. (Read More…)

By on November 8, 2019

There may still be a chance for a new Fifth Avenue. Carlos Tavares, CEO of France’s PSA Groupe and head of a future combined entity, claims the looming merger between his company and Fiat Chrysler will not leave dead brands scattered across the landscape.

There’ll still be a role for such flagging brands as, well, Fiat and Chrysler, the executive implied. It’s not hard to see how rumors of a brand cull could get started, considering this merger is all about finding efficiencies. (Read More…)

By on November 5, 2019

A strange coincidence today — as exotic-obsessed auto journos took to Twitter to drool over Caterham’s latest iteration of the classic Lotus Seven roadster (and rightly so, as motoring doesn’t get any purer), Lotus itself may be planning to resurrect a famous nameplate from the past.

This model’s a little more modern than the Seven, but only just. According to sources who spoke to Autocar, the British automaker, now flush with cash from its Chinese parent, has its eye on a new Elan. (Read More…)

By on October 31, 2019

2019 BMW M2 Competition badge

It’s quite possible a gasp of horror escaped from your lips after laying eyes on the upcoming BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe for the first time. Unmistakably front-drive in profile, the brand’s new entry point ⁠— which happens to be based on the X1 and X2 crossovers ⁠— saw fit to avoid front-drive-only models in North America.

The same goes for the X1 and X2, though overseas buyers can find themselves a Bimmer that only pulls, never pushes. Just don’t ever expect to find one bearing a coveted M badge, the automaker promises. (Read More…)

By on October 29, 2019

We’ve all had time to think about Ford’s “Mustang-inspired” electric crossover, a vehicle which seems ready to adopt styling cues — if not whole swaths of real estate — from its pony car stablemate. Imagine an other automaker grafting a close facsimile of the stem and stern of a storied sports car onto a high-riding, four-door CUV. Seems laughable, no?

Well, this exact scenario seems to be what Ford has planned for a vehicle it needs to be successful. If the final product ends up turning heads and not stomachs, can you see the company’s rivals attempting the same?  (Read More…)

By on October 15, 2019

Startups come and go, and in the age of electrification a great many companies are issuing promises their meagre resources can’t deliver.

Time will tell if a reborn Morris Commercial follows through on a plan to return the iconic J-type commercial van to the rainy streets of Britain — and beyond. Retro appeal has its perks, but getting a new production vehicle, least of all an electric one, off the ground and into garages is fraught with challenges. So, without further introduction, here’s the Morris JE. (Read More…)

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