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Chrysler wanted Duster — but lost it

by David Zatz on

Chrysler wanted to use the Duster name for the new Dodge Dart, but couldn’t — because, during the time in which it was unused, Renault snagged it.

While Chrysler applied for a U.S. trademark (see status) for the Duster name, according to “Mr. Source,” Chrysler did not get international rights, which might have been disputed by Renault/Nissan. The label is now being applied by Renault to an SUV in South America and Europe. (Allpar had been among those predicting a Dodge Duster.) Chrysler’s application was published for opposition today in the United States; the application had been filed on October 21, 2011.

While the “Dodge Duster” name’s alliteration would have rolled easily off the tongue, the remaining Plymouth loving holdouts would not have appreciated it. The upcoming SRT Barracuda will likewise present a challenge, if it’s also sold as a Dodge or Chrysler.

The Plymouth Duster was a runaway hit when first launched in 1970; with the optional 340 cubic inch V8, the car was a match for many larger, heavier, more expensive cars, but still had a large interior and trunk. Chrysler sold over 200,000 Dusters per year from 1972 to 1974. The Duster name was later transferred to a sporty version of the Plymouth Horizon, and was then used as a trim level of the Plymouth Sundance.

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