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.