What's in a name?
Not even Shakespeare can answer what exactly General Motors plans to do with its latest trademark filing. Earlier this month, the automaker filed a patent for the “Tribute” nameplate, according to AutoGuide.com.
The trademark is for “motor land vehicles, namely, automobiles, sport utility vehicles, trucks, vans, engines therefor and structural parts thereof,” AutoGuide reports. That leaves the possibilities of what vehicle could be called the Tribute wide open. The name could be for a future Chevy, Buick, or GMC vehicle, though it’s doubtful the name would be for a future Cadillac considering the luxury brand’s alphanumeric naming convention.
The last time “Tribute” was used on a vehicle was the Mazda Tribute SUV from 2000 to 2011. While Mazda did have a trademark for the name, the rights to the nameplate ended in 2012, according to AutoGuide, giving GM the opportunity to file for it. It just seems odd GM would file for a name that is already associated with another brand, especially if the company puts it on another crossover or SUV.
It’s not clear if “Tribute” will even be used on a vehicle. Automakers often file trademarks for nameplates that never see the light of day. Granted, GM is planning an onslaught of new hybrid or electric vehicles in the next few years.
In October of last year, GM announced it planned to launch two new electric vehicles in the next 18 months based on what it learned from the Chevy Bolt EV. That’s just the beginning. GM hopes to launch a total of 20 new electric vehicles by 2023. That’s a lot of new vehicles that will need unique nameplates.
Keep your eyes open in the coming months to see if GM uses its new nameplate or if the company tucks it away for later use.