Automotive: February 2006 Archives

Lotus Exige SLotus has just introduced the new , a head turning, pint-sized monster that some owners can outrun a Ferrari. Exige means “demanding” in French (possibly an odd choice for an English car company), and it may be the quickest “real” world production car out there. I think the name makes more sense when one considers that the Exige follows the similar sounding Lotus Elise (released a decade ago), a name adopted from former company chairman Romano Artioli's grand-daughter.

elise.jpgThe Exige range copies Elise in form appearance and driving platform but brings more power to the table - the Exige is for the muscle car enthusiast. I like the two car names together, Elise and Exige, which lends an air of sophistication to the brand, not least because of their similar appearance and word length. I find it interesting that there are currently no plans to market this car to Americans, which is probably a good thing, as almost anything associated with the French has a difficult time with many US buyers these days.

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Product Naming: Who Owns the Austin Healey Name Anyway?

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MG LogoThe GB Sports Car Co, production partner of 's owners , recently announced it was going to introduce a reincarnation of the legendary Austin Healey after its absence for over 35 years.

Healey3000Or, maybe not…

It turns out that the Healey name is actually controlled by the Healey family, and they have never granted GB Sports Car Co the rights to the name. Instead, The Healeys have sold their marquee to an Anglo-American company, HFI Automotive for about $2 million.

RoverThis company, with the blessing and participation of Healey founder Donald Healey’s daughter-in-law Margot and her daughters Cecilia and Kate, plan to introduce a new car at the London Motor Show under the Healey 3000 nameplate. And the car will be built by the British in Warwickshire, Britain.

The moral of the story is when it comes to a classic brand name, ask first before trying to trade on it.

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