Questionable Revivals

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There are two vehicles that have been revived recently that have left me perplexed at their timing and construction. They are the Ford Ranger and the Toyota Supra. While I am not opposed to them being in production, the logic behind them seems weak.

The Ranger has grown up since the last time it was built. As the ever-popular American market continues to purchase pickup trucks and SUV’s, Ford revived the Ranger to possible help solidify more of that market share, complimenting their dominance in the full-size truck segment. What does not make sense is the timing of Ford producing the Ranger. It is basically the European Ranger with tweaks for the US market. But, the life cycle of it is coming to a close quickly since it has already been on sale in Europe for a number of years now. It really seems strange that Ford would bring the Ranger to the US as a “new” truck, only to potentially do a complete refresh on it in 3 years. Why would anyone want to buy a truck they know is going to only be around for 3 years? Why buy a leftover? To add insult to injury, the 15-year-old Nissan Frontier outsold the Ford Ranger. There are so many things that don’t make sense about Ford selling the Ranger here in the US before the refresh.

When it comes to the Supra, Toyota teamed up with BMW to produce the car. From a financial standpoint it makes sense to team up with a manufacturer, but maybe not on your halo car. Hearing the price range doesn’t seem to register well with the price of what one would think a Toyota should be. Adding to that, the car has been intentionally built without certain performance enhancements simply because Toyota knows the aftermarket world will improve the car. It really sounds quite lazy. I am not against that tactic. To be honest, I think it is brilliant. I wish more companies would do that. What my issue is, is that the car costs so much for what is essentially a watered down BMW Z4 and an expensive, not fully equipped Toyota. With an asking price of over $50,000 for the base model, it does not make sense to me in monetary terms.

The Ford Ranger and Toyota Supra are quite perplexing to me regarding when they returned and how expensive they returned for. Maybe things will make more sense in a few months or years. With the current automotive market climate, it will certainly be entertaining and interesting.

 

Name Game and Design Time

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Land Rover has been in the news lately for having their new Defender out testing in camouflage. Even with that disguise, one can get a pretty good idea of what it will look like. It is going to join the long list of resurrected names from an automobile company that will use on a newly designed vehicle. So, how closely do a name and design relate and what importance does it have to a brand and the consumer?

There is an incredibly long list of cars that have names once associated with a different ancestor. Some of the most notable are the Dodge Charger, Dodge Challenger, Chevy Blazer, and the Ford Ranger. In some cases, you wonder how the old and new vehicles are related? Upon launch of the Chevy Blazer, many enthusiasts were very disappointed with the way it looked compared to a name with a legacy that was attached to it. Especially with Ford bringing the Bronco back, which has enthusiasts concerned Ford might water down the legendary truck to compete.

All signs seem to point to the Bronco living up to its former glory though, potentially rivaling Jeep in their dominance of the off-road market. However, buyers tend to be shifting towards luxury off-road vehicles, and ones with iconic names top that list as well. Jeep is said to be bringing back the Grand Wagoneer, Mercedes just redesigned their G class SUV, Chevy has their attempt in the segment with the Blazer, and now Land Rover is reviving the Defender.

The new design of the Defender does not resemble the look of Defenders gone by. Consumers, especially enthusiasts, are keen to take note that names should match designs, most notably if it has such a long history. While the US market is not as familiar with the old design and name, I would be curious to know what other markets think. Americans have had many vehicles revived in name and design. Some have been great and others have flopped. Manufacturers should think long and hard before they decide to put an old name to a new vehicle.