An Open Letter to The Big Two-and-a-Half:
Please, spin your nameplates into sub-brands, and then define the trim by manufacturer.
For example: Camaro by Chevrolet; Challenger by Dodge; Mustang by Ford.
Here’s why: the nameplate defines the car – in each of the three cases above, the nameplate implies brawny, raw, unabashed ‘Murica. And the manufacturer’s brand implies the qualities of the vehicle: Chevrolet is Americana Incarnate; the Dodge Boys built a shameless brand based on smokey burnouts; Ford is quality innovation.
And the manufacturer is really a family name anyway. You don’t call your neighbor “Smith, Joe”, right?
This allows for some wonderful platform sharing and market expansion. Imagine a Challenger by Chrysler (or – GASP! – Alfa Romeo)? A modified, aggressive 300 front and tail grafted onto the Challenger? Retaining that epic C-pillar? And a luxury interior with a leather wrapped dash. Probably auto-only, but still: the 8 speed is buttery smooth with the 400 horsepower 5.7L V-8.
Mustang by Lincoln anyone? Maybe some squared off corners to call back to the epic 60’s-era luxo-barges? All black, please. With turned aluminum dash trim, all-day comfortable seats and a stereo to make Beethoven weep.
OK, bad example. But you see where I’m going with this.
Imagine the cross-shopping potential. Sir is interested in a C63 AMG Coupe? Well, has he seen the V-series Camaro by Cadillac?
Oh, a 4-series, guy? May we suggest the Camaro GNX by Buick. Excuse the whistling – that’s just the turbo-charged six cylinder.
The domestic manufacturers finally have the platforms that can compete toe-to-toe with the best of ‘em, so why not expand the market and use the muscle as a “halo-niche.”