GM has been placing “Reserved” signs on a few car names over the past couple of months. In April, it registered to trademark Chevrolet FNR and FNR, which we assume refers to the 2015 concept car Chevy showed in Shanghai. That coupe celebrated 10 years of The Bowtie in China by imagining what a fully autonomous, shape-shifting EV of the future might look like. Then there was the Envision GX, the three-row Buick that we expect to get over after its debut in China. The automaker applied to hold LTX, which has long been rumored to be a new small-block V8 crate engine. And this month, on the same day GM applied to hold the name Corvette Grand Sport, it also applied for the name EXT. The last time we saw those three letters together on a GM product was the Cadillac Escalade EXT pickup, sold from 2001 to 2013.
Unlike patents, trademarks must be used to remain in force. The applicant can let the trademark die and then reapply; GM has filed for LTX four times in the past ten years. But it makes more sense if the applicant plans to put the mark somewhere. The last time GM filed to hold EXT was in April 2000, less than a year before the Escalade EXT arrived as a 2002-model-year offering.
This doesn’t mean we expect Cadillac to resurrect its not-exactly-beloved pickup. But the return of names like Blazer, Ranger, Maverick, and Scout prove that reclaiming brand equity, even on a different kind of product to the original, is a popular and potentially profitable thing to do. Why not call the coming electric pickup the Silverado EXT, or give it an EXT trim level? It would work just as well with the electric Blazer or Equinox, too. You wouldn’t hear us complain about a properly compact Blazer EXT pickup, either.