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Wednesday, 20 September 2023


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The Edsel name wasn't a problem. It was the Mercury sucking a lemon front end treatment and other styling quirks than doomed the car and with it the name.

Or, depending on their attitude and your response to it, you might pointedly say "your new Toyota is beautiful." I did.


I say Lumix, because in my mind Panasonic means middling consumer products.

I have two cameras. I call them both Panasonics. I have three turntables. Two of them I call Technics, the third one I call a microwave.
Puzzling, but in conversation everyone knows which one I'm talking about.

As a Baltimore native, and hometown football fan, here’s my take. Ownership matters. Robert Irsay not only left town with the team, he took the name Colts, and all the records established by the Baltimore Colts team and players, to Indianapolis. Peyton Manning, for instance, was able to challenge team records established by Johnny Unitas. When Art Modell left Cleveland, however, he was decent enough (based on League agreement) to leave Cleveland with the name Browns, as well as all the team records, intact. The Ravens (named after the poem by Poe), in effect, became an expansion team, starting from scratch. But long time Baltimore Colt fans in Baltimore think about their team history as changing from the Colts to the Ravens, not from the Browns to the Ravens, as the Browns had no history here. Indianapolis, on the other hand, had no similar team history.

As your links cover, the Baltimore Colts were instrumental in two major changes to US professional football. First, the 1958 overtime championship (my dad attended in NY) has been cited as the foundation for establishing football as a premier television product, eventually superseding baseball. And the 1969 loss by the NFL Colts to the AFL NY Jets led to merger of the two leagues. As “ punishment”, the Baltimore Colts (along with the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers) joined the American Football Conference of the merged NFL, while the rest of the former NFL teams formed the National Football Conference.

It's too easily pronounced (and, for all I know, that's how it's supposed to be pronounced) "lummox."

An odd automotive brand is Acura. I don't know about now, but for years Acura was a North America only brand name. In other parts of the world they called the models Honda Integra and Honda Legend.

Some names are just bad. Lumix would be fine for a lightbulb brand, maybe even a car. The Cadillac Lumix, where luxury meets electricity. Just call it Panasonic.

Yes, it's interesting that nobody talks about "Lumix". Personally, I just think it's a silly-sounding name, and it's also a bit too close to "Linux".

When the Japanese auto manufacturers decided to increase their profits with luxury cars, the marketing experts concluded that US customers would not accept a vehicle as a luxury vehicle without luxury name branding. US customers can be snobby that way. Honda was the first with Acura, which was a brand name that was exclusive to the US. Cars that were sold under the Acura nameplate were called Hondas in Europe. Toyota quickly followed with Lexus, which had more success than Acura, partly as Honda did not sell any Acuras that had engines with more than 6 cylinders. At that time, a vehicle had to have at least 8 cylinders to be considered a true luxury vehicle. Nissan came out with the Infiniti, but never became as popular as Lexus because of some silly advertising that introduced the brand. The advertising said almost nothing about cars, and left a lot of people trying to figure out what the ads were about.
The VW Phaeton failed because it was directly competing with Audi, another division of VW that was associated with luxury. VW means "people's car". It's like GM trying to sell a luxury Chevrolet to compete with Cadillac. It was not a good marketing plan, and it was concocted by the CEO of the company, who was arrogant enough to think that he could sell cars with VW badging to luxury buyers. The Japanese manufacturers understood this about the US market. The Germans didn't.
I'm not quite sure how successful the Cadillac Cimarron really was. GM at that time was being run into future bankruptcy by people who were "brand specialists" but didn't understand cars. They thought that if they stuck a Cadillac-looking grill on the front of a poorly-made Chevrolet, put leather in it, and put Cadillac badges on it, that people would no longer consider the 3-series BMWs. That didn't happen.
The Mercedes-Benz Group became jealous that VW owned Bentley, and BMW owned Rolls-Royce, so they wanted an ultra-luxury brand of their own. They tried to come out with a new name, Maybach. It didn't quite work out as an entirely separate brand, so it is now called Mercedes-Maybach.

Mike wrote, " ... and the Cadillac Cimmaron (a cynical rebadging of a mediocre Chevrolet) succeeded because it was a Cadillac."

Wikipedia tells us, "The Cimarron is noted as a nadir of GM's product planning — for its low sales, poor performance and ill-conceived badge engineering."
Noted automotive journalist Dan Neil included the Cimarron in his 2007 list of Worst Cars of all Time, saying "everything that was wrong, venal, lazy, and mendacious about GM in the 1980s was crystallized in this flagrant insult to the good name and fine customers of Cadillac." He added that the Cimarron "nearly killed Cadillac and remains its biggest shame."


Also in the mid to late 80’s, Honda created Acura, and Nissan created Infiniti. Japanese cars, and products in general, did not have today’s quality reputation in the US. And import/export regulations provided for higher profit margins for Japanese auto companies when shipping higher end cars. Marketing.

I had a lovely Leica D-Lux 4 years ago. I referred to it, when pressed, as Leica's rebadged Lumix LX-3. I never referred to the LX-3 as a Panasonic. I've always been comfortable with Lumix vs. Panasonic.

Both my wife and I have "take with us" cameras for occasions that we want good images without the need to lug around DSLRs.

NO, we still have iPhone 8s, not 15s...maybe someday!

Mine is a Panasonic (LUMIX) on the front, DMC-FZ1000...her's is badged (LEICA) V-Lux Typ 114.
People see her's and say "Oh you shoot a Leica"
People look at mine and say "What kind of camera is that?"

Personally, I would defy snyoe other than a very astute critic to show us the difference between two images taken of the same subject under the same conditions. Especially if looking at them on a monitor.

Couple of points.

You ask a question with the title but then don't actually answer/reference it in the article. I had to look up Edsel as I'd never heard of it before. Quite fascinating stuff, definitely relevant to the article, but somehow missing from the article. (I blame the editor!)

My guess for the name change is in part because Lumix looks better on the front of the prism housing (genuine prism or otherwise) than Panasonic would as the space is limited and 9 letters is simply too much to fit on and keep things legible.

Also, I'm struggling to come up with another modern camera brand with 4 syllables in their name, and that's probably a part of things too, from a marketing perspective.

On my third reading of the article I realised that you did actually answer the question with the very first sentence, even if you didn't then elaborate on Edsel any further.


I'm off to find something/someone to blame as all I can see around here is a mirror!

I have a possible explanation. When Toyota introduced Lexus, Lexus was (and still is) treated as an independent brand. The way Toyota positioned the Lexus brand, it made a conscious effort to distance itself (a budget brand) from Lexus (a prestige brand). It’s a bit like Swatch vs Omega (the brands, not the corporate history). You don’t see “Swatch” engraved on Omega watches.

However, Panasonic has done a half-hearted job. It treats Lumix only as a product line, not a brand. The brand “Panasonic” is still shown on every Lumix product and marketing material. (Go check your 12-35/2.8!)

I went to the Los Angeles Auto Show at the time the Saturn came out. I was looking at one with my friend who had never heard of Saturn. My friend asked about it, and I said something to the effect of "Oh, it is a new GM brand." The sales drone came up and rather huffily said that it was NOT GM but a totally independent company. We let it go, but I should have asked, "Oh yeah, then why is it stuffed full of Delco parts?" Delco being the GM-Captive parts supplier.

Of course, further events proved me right.

Not to mention that the Lumix cameras either have, or have the option for, Leica-badged lenses in an attempt to add exclusivity. The Leica point & shoots are re-badged, and more expensive, Panasonic Lumix's. We could go on and on, just know what you are buying.

Poor Edsel Ford -- brow-beaten by Henry and saddled with the association of Ford's biggest failure.

The Edsel had the disadvantage of no buyer loyalty when it was introduced in 1958 -- which was a recession year.

Ford had tried to take the sales crown from Chevrolet in '57 and both brands stole sales from others as they vied for supremacy.

This cutthroat sales race, along with the '58 recession, spelled the end for the independent makers, except for American Motors.

According to wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edsel), only Lincoln and Rambler increased sales in 1958, among American car companies.

The radiator grille was originally designed much narrower, possibly like the Packard Predictor (photos here: https://www.hagerty.com/media/car-profiles/the-last-packard-that-never-was-dick-teagues-predictor/). However, the engineers were afraid the engine would overheat with such a small radiator opening. And then a "higher up" person insisted on a taller and wider grille opening.

People were discovering smaller, more efficient cars and bought many Volkswagens and Ramblers.

The styling didn't really kill the Edsel. It's just that there was no real reason to buy one. It was a mash-up of (low-cost) Ford and (more-expensive) Mercury parts, launched into a market already overfilled with medium-price "near-luxury" cars, in the middle of a recession.
Already in the '50s, Kaiser, Frazer, Nash, Hudson, and Packard were medium-priced brands that had gone under, with DeSoto soon to follow.
Not much of a product, lots of competition, a tough market... a recipe for failure. Of course the styling was weird, even for that over-the-top era, which didn't help.
How this relates to cameras and photography in 2023,I'm not sure, but oh well!

You are probably right when stating that the Volkswagen Phaeton was an excellent luxury car. But I think it failed not because it was a Volkswagen but because too much extras were built into an existing chassis (Passat rebadged). The engine compartment got so crammed that simple repairs became utterly expensive because before doing them you had to offload all these extras to get access to the problem. Word got around quickly and the bottom fell out of the used car market. Depreciation sky rocketed. Sales dropped.

I do hear people calling their cameras "Lumix"; mostly the compact and bridge cameras. The Lumix FZ80 is fairly popular with birders.

Have you noticed how Lexus, Acura and Infinite cars were badged, compared with Toyota, Honda and Nissan? Corrolla, Civic, Altima.... vs LS, TS, Q... BMWs are always BMW 328, etc, Mercedes always E350, etc.... Luxury brands never dilute thier brands with "sub-brands", just plain brand name plus alpha-numerics. When the Japanese created their own luxury brands, they follow suit.

I have a Panasonic vacuum cleaner. It's 35 years old and still going strong.

Lumix is a better name than Coolpix. Or Cybershot. Or Powershot, or Finepix, or DiMAGE, or *ist D…

I guess nothing beats Digital Kiss though.

I worked as a grip on a film for GM introducing the Cimmaron. As a bunch of executives were standing around congratulating themselves on how this car was going to be a big seller my only thought was who is going to buy a Chevy rebadged as a Caddy.

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