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Attack of the Zombie brands


regfootball

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Last October, few tears were shed when Ford ended production of the Taurus. The unlovely, workhorse sedan had been the company's best-selling unit for much of the 1990s, mostly because of huge sales to rental-car companies. Shutting down production was a sign that Ford, in the midst of a serious restructuring, was looking to the future. But then in February, Ford announced that it would resume producing a car with the Taurus nameplate in the summer of 2007.

The Taurus isn't the only zombie brand around. Poke around the vast consumer products marketplace, and it's easy to find dead or dormant brands that have been revived or trotted out for second or third chances, from low-end autos to high-end couture, from mass-market soft drinks to gossipy magazines.

What gives? Why kill a product only to resurrect it?

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This is a very interesting phenomenon...

I've often thought about this happening with old auto divisions...

For instance, Oldsmobile could be built up as a very tech savy division. This would take A LOT of $$$ and resources from other corporations (Platforms, engines, etc.) to make it feasible. But I bet it could be done, although it would never be mass production again.

Plymouth would be a lot easier. Investors could contract through money losing Chrysler Corp. to try and gain access to LX or LY and build an 'ultimate' version of the platform and name it 'Cuda. This could capitalize on the muscle car boom by appealing to nostalgic buyers and enthusiasts alike. The only catch would be that the 'Cuda would need a completely amped up engineering treatment to truly set it apart from DCX's platform mates. Then maybe they could focus on a 2nd generation Prowler or maybe bring out something similar to the Pronto concept that the PT was supposed to be. Of course, a product like that couldn't sell on heritage alone. It'd have to develop it's own attributes to 'set it apart'

Lets go back even further and revive LaSalle... With a tagline like "Luxury cars built BY Americans FOR Americans" might sway some passionate people that are disgruntled about the state of the UAW right now. It could be the 'employees car company' using Harley-Davidson as a model.

What about Tucker and the technology image that brand conveyed? (Short lived as it was)

Of course, all of this is laced with wishful thinking, as in our capitalisitc/oligopolistic society, I think it would be extremely hard to grow a business like this. But, if one had the resources and could think outside the box (Which is something hardly anyone in business does this day in age IMO, it's too risky)

Some companies have had success... AVX cars for example; the people who used to turn F-Bodies into Avantis and introduced the new Hummer-like "Studebaker" a couple of years ago. I think they're still around. (For those of you that don't know, Studebaker was originally the mark and the Avanti was a model line)

There was a group of investors trying to revive the Packard name and they even had a concept (Complete with GM parts) a number of years ago, but I don't think they ever got it off the ground. Same with the second attempt at Indian Motorcycles.

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The Studebaker revival appears to be dead in the water. Three ressurected marques that I can think of that seem to have had limited niche success are Bugatti, Maybach and Spyker.

Edited by moltar
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The Studebaker revival appears to be dead in the water. Three ressurected marques that I can think of that seem to have had limited niche success are Bugatti, Maybach and Spyker.

Maybach isn't much of a brand really. It's more like a trim line on really expensive S-classes. It has about as much meaning as Brougham in Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham. It is often times refered to as a Mercedes Maybach. I think that was a large part of the "brand"'s failure.

had they made the car different enough maybe it would have worked.

Personally, I think they should have gone with Daimler instead.

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Maybach isn't much of a brand really. It's more like a trim line on really expensive S-classes. It has about as much meaning as Brougham in Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham. It is often times refered to as a Mercedes Maybach. I think that was a large part of the "brand"'s failure.

had they made the car different enough maybe it would have worked.

Personally, I think they should have gone with Daimler instead.

No, Maybach really is a separate brand. They have separate dealers, and are titled as such. Not part of the Mercedes-Benz brand. The 57 and 62 models look vaguely like an S-class, but they aren't S-classes.

Daimler wouldn't work, since that brand is related to Jaguar.

R

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The Avanti concern has had numerous owners since '66- after the late '70s I'm not sure you could call the concern much of a success. The Studebaker XUV was a one-off, so was the Centennial (1999) Packard.

I agree with Olds that maybach is perceptionally & irrevocably linked to mercedes and is not perceived as a stand-alone. The design IS far too derivative of mercedes's product, ESP for the money.

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I agree with Olds that maybach is perceptionally & irrevocably linked to mercedes and is not perceived as a stand-alone. The design IS far too derivative of mercedes's product, ESP for the money.

I remember that there was a .[post=http://www.germancarfans.com/print_preview.cfm/ID/2041231.002/lang/eng ]1997 maybach concept[/post] that inspired the design direction for the eight gen. s-class. When the maybach was produced it looked 80% of the concept, retaining the oval-quad headlamps, grill and roofline shape. The 9th gen s-class wasn't a radical change, and so here we have the two brands that are a bit derivative from each other

Shutting down production was a sign that Ford, in the midst of a serious restructuring, was looking to the future.

That's not a sign, it's the lack of focus, back then, of looking foward to improve it. The car get a bad image after years of neglect, sales goes down the tubes or to rental companies, and then they can't afford to keep it any longer.

I think that mr. mually (sp) was inspired by the first gen taurus and used it's sucess in his business. The taurus, replaces the waste-of-money-on-a-useless-name Five Hundered. When the Taurus was the best selling car and gave ford billions in profit the credit should be given Edwards Deming.

Edited by carstar
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  • 4 weeks later...

"Oldsmobile could be built up as a very tech savy division"

With what $$$? Keep dreaming. And Plymouth? 90% of the public couldn't even name one, only die hard Mo-dog fanatics care. And the last 20 years of the brand are worth nothing, the Voyager and Neons were jsut known as Chysler products

The ones who think imports should be banned, and all old names must come back have to face reality.

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This is a very interesting phenomenon...

I've often thought about this happening with old auto divisions...

For instance, Oldsmobile could be built up as a very tech savy division...Plymouth would be a lot easier... Of course, all of this is laced with wishful thinking, as in our capitalisitc/oligopolistic society, I think it would be extremely hard to grow a business like this. But, if one had the resources and could think outside the box (Which is something hardly anyone in business does this day in age IMO, it's too risky)

Actually I have a different plan, one that I would enact if TON of cash fell into my lap. You could 'buy' the names from DCX and GM and produce them as retro sport/lux mobiles on a single chassis. Heck Ford isn't using DEW98 for anything since the Lincoln LS is dead, it has a V8 is RWD and is a capable chassis. And I doubt Ford is using that plant, w/foundry, for anything. Punch out that tiny quad cam V8 to 4.5L thow on a supercharger, borrowed from Jag, add a 6 speed stick/autostick and your chassis and powertrain is done. Now use powerful Retro cues like the Prowler had to make a sedan (Olds), a coupe (Plymouth), and a Vert (to be named later) and you have a well rounded niche brand that could likely sell at a profit in small numbers. Heck you could even spend some cash to lighten the chassis and it would be like a American Lotus, but V8 and RWD.

So you guys keep me in mind the next time you see the Powerball reach $200 million.

And Plymouth? 90% of the public couldn't even name one, only die hard Mo-dog fanatics care.

Prowler! And I am NOT a Mopar fanatic.
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