Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Blazer is a Blazer except when its a Trailblazer or a Tahoe or a Jimmy or a Yukon

You know what I think Chevy's (or GM's) problem is in regards to their trucks? Their convoluted naming history.

First example. Blazer.

For years this was their full-size pickup truck based SUV. Then came the S-10 Blazer. Now there are two "blazers" in the lineup. Ah, but to throw some confusion into the mix GMC has its own S-10 knock off called the S-15 Jimmy. Normally, you would think 15 is greater than 10, so the S-15 must be a better vehicle than the S-10. Not so in General Motors land. They are exactly the same. GMC also has its own duplicate issues between the full-size and not full-size trucks with the "Jimmy" moniker.

Later on, the S-10 Blazer becomes just the Blazer and the Blazer becomes the Tahoe, but for a few years, and still to this day really, the Tahoe formerly known as the Blazer is still called the Blazer by a lot of people.

Now, to eliminate that confusion, I guess, Chevy decides to rename the Blazer, you might remember it as the S-10 Blazer, to Trailblazer. At the same time GMC renames their Blazer knock off, the S-15 Blazer, err, Jimmy, to something else too. I have no idea what, and don't care but probably Trailjimmy, and their Blazer/Tahoe clone to Yukon.

The Blazer name was iconic and renaming their signature SUV to something as generic and bland as "Tahoe" is just proof positive of GM's rot within (for more proof of that see Pontiac Aztek).

Luckily, the Suburban has always been the Suburban. Well, that's not true either. For years Chevy and GMC both shared the Suburban name which begs the question, why? Same vehicle, same name, whats the point? In 1999, GMC changed the name of their Suburban to Yukon XL while Chevy retained the Suburban name. Wait, doesn't GMC already have a truck named Yukon? Yes, but this Yukon is bigger, hence the XL designation.

Less confusing, but still stupid, is the full-size pickups used to be called CK1500, 2500 or 3500, but since 1999 they have been called Silverado 1500, 2500 or 3500. Why is that stupid? Silverado used to be a package ugrade. A CK1500 Silverado used to be a regular pickup with fancy paint and carpet. Yet another name bastardization (See Pontiac LeMans and Chevy Nova).

Now, in the same time period of roughly 30 to 40 years how many name changes do you think Ford has made to their line of trucks? To their pickups, none. It's always been the F150 and it probably always will be the F150. Their full-size SUV was a Bronco then it became the Expedition. They introduced a new large-full-size SUV to compete with the Suburban and did they pull a GMC and call it Expedition XL or take a page from Chevy and call it the Bronco? Of course not.

If you pull up Craigslist and search for Bronco, you pretty much know exactly what you are going to get, if you try to do the same for a Chevy Blazer/Tahoe/Jimmy/Yukon, well, God have mercy on your soul.

This has been a long rant and for what purpose. None really. I was just very grumpy when I googled Chevy Blazer this morning and this POS came up first.


Big A said...

Nice Rant, but it's incomplete:

The Blazer/Trailblazer was even worse than you say. It wasn't just a re-naming. In 1999, a "Trailblazer" was an upscale trim package for the Blazer (the one that was the s-10 blazer first, NOT the one that was the k-5blazer and then the blazer and then the Tahoe). But they gave it a whole new name instead of just calling it a trim package.

Then in 2002, the built a BRAND NEW platform, and called it - you guessed it - a Trailblazer, Which they sold alongside the Blazer for a few years before phasing out the blazer completely.

Similarly, the Envoy was a Trim upgrade to the Jimmy (not the real jimmy, the other one) introduced in 1998 and sold until 2000. There was no envoy in 2001, and then in 2002 like the trailblazer, it was re-introduced on a new platform and the Jimmy was retired.

Also, as far back as 1991, there was the oldsmobile Bravada which is the same platform as the S15 Jimmy/S10 Blazer. Until 2002 when it was also the oldsmobile version of the Trailblazer until 2004 when it was retired, BUT coincidentally BUICK introduced the Ranier which was the EXACT SAME THING.

And who can forget the Isuzu Ascender - introduced in 2003 which is also the exact same thing as the Trailblazer/Bravada/Ranier/Envoy. Supposed to replace the Trooper, but isn't really the same thing.

And last, but not least, you have the Saab 9-7x. Again, built on the same platform as the Trailblazer/Bravada/Ranier/Evoy/Ascender, and built in the same Ohio factory, and sharing many of the same components as it's poorer brothers.

If you told me the Federal Government was running General Motors, the only thing I would be surprised at is that it JUST HAPPENED. You would think the Government has been running them for 20 years.

gagknee said...

Excellent addition to my post! Thanks.

Rob said...

In Ford world, in the late 70s the "Explorer" was originally a trim package for their pickups.

I get irritated when I try to search for Honda Odysseys and Honda Pilot ATVs... instead of dune duggies you get grocery-getters.

gagknee said...

I should have also mentioned the truck with two first names, the Yukon Denali, which to me is akin to naming your child Thomas when your last name is Thomas. Maybe its not that bad, but a vehicle should never have two nouns in its name. "Denali" signifies nothing. Look throughout the history of the automobile and the upgraded version of any vehicle was denoted with an acronym (SS, GT, ZR1, AMX) if the vehicle's name was a noun and with a noun (Judge, Lariat, Silverado) if the vehicle's name was a number or an acronym. Regardless, all of these wacky name changes destroys your customer loyalty and their ability to identify with your product. My Trailblazer (not mine literally) isn't very unique because not only does it share its body and chassis with 8 other vehicles, it also shares its name and derivatives of that name with a host of other trucks too. You think there are Trailblazer forums, clubs, message boards and other ways for Trailblazer owners to hang out and talk about how much they love their trucks? No. because nobody cares. Its just a faceless vehicle that people drive for 5 years and get rid of and replace with a Ford or Toyota. Do you think people will be restoring Trailblazers in 20 years? I doubt it.

gagknee said...

ha! good point rob. nothing like a little name recycling.

Big A said...

Don't forget the Denali (which sounds like it SHOULD be a model name, but is really a trim package) is/was available on several other models (Yukon, Yukon XL, Envoy and Sierra).

And when I was shopping for my Suburban, the trim packages were a nightmare to figure out. GMC/Chevy used some of the same letters, some different, some were the same with totally different meanings, etc.. LS LT LT1 LT2 SLE LE XLS, XLT, blah, blah, blah - it was impossible to figure out which options any vehicle had without actually going in person and looking at it.

Naming stupidity aside, in my opinion the Suburban remains as the best SUV ever built. (compared to others that are commercially available and affordable for regular people)

gagknee said...

even though i've never owned a suburban, i'd have to agree with you. the blazer/tahoe/suburban are still my favorite and some of the best designed and best looking trucks of all time.

Think of it like the totally hot valedictorian in high school whose dad was the village idiot/drunk who got arrested each weekend for indecent exposure. You can't change who brought you into the world.