by Jim Deane
The Oldsmobile Corvette. The Mercury Mustang. The Volkswagen 911 Turbo. The Daihatsu Firebird. The Chrysler Prowler.
One of these things is not like the others. Can you guess which one? That's right. They're all as imaginary as Santa Claus, except one.
The decision to end the Plymouth brand has been hotly contested by many on this site, but after the insult of labeling the Plymouth Pronto Cruizer as the Chrysler PT Cruiser, DaimlerChrysler has once again defiled the Plymouth name by assigning one of its Plymouth vehicles to another marque. I suppose we can take solace that they did not make it a Dodge, but since Dodge passenger cars may be gradually on their way out as well, that makes sense.
Wouldn't Plymouth enthusiasts have preferred that the latest Plymouth-exclusive vehicle, the first since the 1969 Plymouth Barracuda, remain as a marque-less vehicle and be badged, simply, "Prowler"? Or, better, that the entire marque be allowed to die, rather than transplanting vehicles to another marque, as if the script for this whole fiasco was based on a Frankenstein novel?
DaimlerChrysler continues to fail to understand the sense of loyalty and heritage that Plymouth loyalists associate with their favored marque. Perhaps they don't fully feel the sting yet, they don't realize that my new-car dollars will no longer go to Chrysler, but to other companies, those who pay no lip service to their followers. Those who are not destroying their heritage and that of a national industry, picking the easy, quick money rather than doing what is right, and restoring a proud line of cars to its rightful place among american automakers. Neither Dodge nor Chrysler will ever be what Plymouth once was, what it became and maintained despite the opposition from Dodge, one of the *truly* big three. Ford, Chevrolet, and Plymouth.
Only the big two remain.
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