QotW: Should carmakers use classic nameplates for new models?

Last week, we finally got a glimpse of the forever-teased fifth-gen Supra. Toyota can now add their historic nameplate back into their lineup to evoke the glory years of exciting expressway champions and literally unbelievable “Gentleman’s Agreement” performance. Honda and Nissan also have historic badges running the streets in the NSX, Z and GT-R, as well as upcoming models like the Urban EV. Looking at the selection, we ask you to ponder:

Should carmakers use classic nameplates for new models?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s the coolest JNC you’ve spotted in the cold dark of winter?

Last week’s top post goes to Jeremy A. who instantly reminded me of the video post above and all those teenage years where the best thing for taking on the weather wrath is a trusty steed. In Jeremy’s case, the drive he spotted making a run up the hill may have been trying to get to that wood burning stove. We all know the Justy was mighty… mighty cold with a small heater core and mild blower in the dead of winter.

Coolest JNC I ever saw during winter- Besides my own, because the Z doesn’t enjoy snow- Here in Oregon, December of 2017, I went up to Timberline Lodge, on Mt. Hood, and I saw a 1988 or 1989 Subaru Justy going up towards the lodge, with white steelies, a graphics package proudly proclaiming it was 4WD, a roof rack, and two pair of skis. Car looked garage kept, but the driver knew what the car was built to do, and they were out doing it.

Omedetou! Your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop.

JNC Decal smash

This post is filed under: Question of the Week.

7 Responses to QotW: Should carmakers use classic nameplates for new models?

  1. BlitzPig says:

    It’s been done forever, by almost every manufacturer, and no one has ever cared, even if the new car is utterly different from the original In example… the Toyota Corolla. The current cars are not even remotely related to the original cars. I will also offer up a non Japanese example, the Porsche 911. The current, bloated cars are nothing like the early light, nimble, 2 litre sports cars and have morphed into much larger, much heavier, GT cars.

  2. LB1 says:

    It’s their nameplate. They do what they want. Suck it up.

  3. Newgene says:

    In a perfect world the Eclipse Cross would be named anything but. Ultimately manufacturers use whatever name they see fit. A familiar name can pique initial interest and brand familiarity.

  4. Ant says:

    People put far too much stock in a name, when it’s the end product that matters most. If the new Supra was called something else I suspect it’d have caused nothing like the agitation it has, which suggests that nostalgia for five letters rather than anything technical are the problem.

    The Urban EV is an interesting one. It’s obviously a new nameplate – but how would you view it differently if it were called a City? Or a Jazz/Fit? Or if Honda named if after the car its styling draws most inspiration from – Civic?

    Ultimately, it’s up to the manufacturer’s discretion as to what they name a car. All I really care about is whether the car is any good or not.

  5. エーイダン says:

    Names carry meaning. Especially to the enthusiast community. However recycling a nameplate for a new vehicle or range of vehicles. Example, Datsun. Pre-WWII Datsun cars were successful in Japan. In the 1960s, when Nissan held the reigns over the Datsun marque, they used the Datsun badge on their exported Nissans to give the brand good luck.

    Car companies still need to be mindful of image, because reputation is earned not bought. Names carry some weight in the car world, but as long as it helps sell the product, does it really matter what’s written on the rear fascia?

  6. Pip says:

    Ultimately, its the marquis’ prerogative as to what they name their cars. But, their goal is to sell cars and nostalgia can be a deciding factor for consumers, so using nostalgic model names has appeal to manufacturers. This is not to say that the manufacturers always make the right choices.

    For example, the new Eclipse crossover has nothing to do with the old Eclipse GT car. There are hundreds of examples from the Ford Mustang to the Mustang II or the Dodge Dart muscle car to the 80’s? 4 banger, Japanese manufactured hatchback.

    Other cars evolve over time. The Porsche 911 of today is nothing like the 60’s car but it got to where it is today by slow evolution. the same can be said of the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and the Ford F150 pickup. To me, this is a good thing and a natural evolution.

    I really like how Jaguar’s F Type is a tribute to the original D Type and E type. Now that’s branding!

    IMHO, the new Supra lives up to the model name even though its essentially a German car now (still trying to get my head around that). It is definitely an evolution of the old Mk IV.


  7. Speedie says:

    The name is all about marketing The execution of the product is what matters in the end. If you call it a Supra then it has to live up to the image the name has in the market. If you don’t then all you’ve done is ruin a good brand. Personally I would love to see a new RX-7 but if Mazda put the name on a hybrid that would be like Dodge calling a Fiat a Dart. What they did? All hope is lost.

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