Old product, new name: FCA re-launches 'Voyager' nameplate for some Pacifica models
'Car companies try to pull forward by reaching into the past'
An old name is coming back in the minivan world.
The Chrysler Voyager joins the Fiat Chrysler Automotive lineup for 2020, replacing the Pacifica L and LX models.
The seven-passenger van will be built at the Windsor Assembly Plant, but will not immediately be sold in Canada.
Automotive News publisher Jason Stein said the resurrection of the name plate goes back to 1984, when the Plymouth Voyager was one of two minivans.
"That Voyager nameplate was transferred to the Chrysler brand when the Plymouth was discontinued, and then dropped altogether in 2003," said Stein. "They're going back to a name that most folks would know extremely well on the minivan side."
Stein said that while pricing for the Voyager hasn't been released, it's expected to be aimed at "budget-conscious families" as well as fleet customers.
"Car companies try to pull forward by reaching into the past," said Stein. "It'll be interesting to see how they market the vehicle."
Nostalgia as an advertising tool
Popular in the 80s, those driving the Voyager then would be well into their 60s now, said Stein.
Kyle Asquith, a University of Windsor professor focusing on advertising and consumer culture, called the use of the Voyager name a "decent" move when it comes to attracting attention.
"They had to do something," said Asquith. "The sales numbers alone showed they couldn't continue on [the way they were]."
Asquith said nostalgia is a powerful advertising tool.
"Especially for cars, because for better or worse in North America, we are a car culture," said Asquith. "People's memories of childhood or teenage years often revolve around time spent in a car."
While Asquith said it's a smart idea, but he doesn't think it will be enough to save the reputation of the minivan.
"I think we're just so in love with SUVs and crossovers that minivans don't stand much of a chance," said Asquith.
Stein said the move is an attempt to go back to when the minvan was a "hot product."
"What Chrysler did back in 1984 was really set a benchmark for a lifestyle," said Stein, adding that this isn't the first vehicle name to be relaunched, mentioning the Challenger and the Ford Ranger as examples.
"This happens more and more as automakers try to pull on the heartstrings of consumers whow ould recognize those names from years ago."