Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Single-Year Model Names

IMG_0197 Combine the effort automotive marketing men put into developing public awareness of model names with the intellectual property value of a legally-established trade mark, and it is understandable why car model names, once established, are often recycled over and over. But, some model names die fast and quiet. These are names tainted by a bad model, or reference a rapidly outdated fad, identified cars that were intentionally small-volume, limited-edition halo cars, or perhaps got slapped together just to use up a stockpile of odd parts. And every once in a while, a name just doesn’t play as well in the showroom as test marketing suggested it would. Even in these cases, however, model names usually get at least a few years to prove themselves before they’re cast into the dustbin of corporate history. It is rare that a model name is retired after only a single model year, never to be resurrected; this is the topic for this week’s Hoonatica entry. The Caveats (there are always caveats, and today more than usual!):

  • This is not about platforms or models, but model names. If it was used for more than one model year by a particular manufacturer, even on vehicles in different segments or decades apart, it doesn’t count. ONE. YEAR. ONLY.
  • Trim lines and submodels don’t count. The major model name must be unique. Yes, this also goes for homologation specials.
  • We’re talking world-wide. A model name marketed in ANY market (or combination of markets) for more than one year doesn’t count, even if it happened to be sold in some particular nation or continent for one year only.
  • Mass-produced vehicles only, obviously. Customs, kit cars, amateur-built cars, concept cars and prototypes need not apply.
  • Cars introduced within a year of their manufacturer’s bankruptcy (or other permanent suspension of production) don’t count. The model name must have been intentionally killed, not a victim that died of natural causes.
  • Model names that by definition were designed to change every year don’t count. The example I’m thinking of are the Chrysler 300 “Letter cars.”
  • In light of the above caveat, alpha-numeric names require a special dose of discrimination. Are the IS200d and IS200t really two different names, or just two versions of the same model name? [The latter is the correct answer, if you haven’t figured it out.]
  • Cars, light trucks and heavy trucks are allowed. Motorcycles REALLY, REALLY, REALLY don’t count this week, if only because bike models have so routinely died in infancy over the last thirty years. Airplanes? Don’t even think about it.

Difficulty: Thinking caps on! Very little of this fruit is truly low-hanging, but give the ol’ memory a nudge and perhaps engage in a bit of careful investigation; there is plenty here for everyone. How This Works: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates! Bonus points for adding photos. Image Source: Wikipedia.

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