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.

The Lamborghini Lament

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When Lamborghini first rumored they were going to be building a new SUV, I was super excited. I remembered the first one they made, the LM002, and what an outlandish, absurd, and over the top vehicle it was. It was a brutish vehicle that looked like it was in the military reserves one weekend a month, two weeks out of the year. It then would practice law by day, and shuffle the family from horse riding lessons and ballet at night. It was amazing. At least, it has become that iconic to me. I have never driven it but, I guess, I just have this perception, this expectation of what it is.

So when they released the Urus, I was a bit taken aback. That was not the SUV I was envisioning. Now, I know it has not been tested yet. I know that when they conceived this vehicle, they did not know that Ford would be rumoring the return of the Bronco, or that Jeep would be rumoring the return of the Grand Wagoneer. All the big players in the off road game, like Hummer, Land Rover, Jeep, Mercedes G Class, Lexus, and the Ford Raptor should have been worried. The more luxurious ones and soon to be ones, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Maserati should have taken note. Instead, they made something that looks like “an urban mom” would drive, as my wife described.

Harken back farther than the 80s and you’ll remember that Lamborghini made tractors before it made sports cars. Yes, that’s right tractors. In fact, they still make tractors. With all those years of agricultural earth crawling and hauling knowledge, why could they not have applied that to a new SUV? They could have made it rugged, rambunctious, and ridiculous. They have all the right ingredients to make something fast, powerful, and luxurious. It would have been beyond capable, practically at home, off road, to outperform the competition in every conceivable way.

I really wanted the Lamborghini SUV to be a gorilla in a tuxedo. A big, bulky, but surprisingly good looking sight that you can’t take your eyes off of because it is just…bewildering. Its performance would be as obnoxious as expected, but with enough charm that you can’t blame it. These are all qualities that I think are in the lineage of the company and were expressed in the LM002.

Maybe I will put a poster up on my wall like many kids did back in the day with their dream cars. This time, the poster will just be filled with words. Words about a car, because it only exists in my dreams.