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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Will the Barracuda Roar Once More?


cuda logo

It has been 41 years since the Barracuda nameplate adorned one of Chrysler’s automobiles. When new, the name inspired fear in lesser cars, and joy in those who owned them. Between the pistol grip shifter, and the now infamous shaker hood on the Hemi ‘Cuda, the Barracuda nameplate is one of the most iconic muscle cars from the late 1960s and early 1970s. Yet, because of a new patent filing, we now wonder, “Could the Barracuda be resurrected after all these years?
Last month, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) filed a new trademark for the name “Barracuda” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Specifically, though, the trademark refers to FCA using it for “motor vehicles, namely, passenger automobiles, their structural parts, trim and badges.”  So, could this new trademark refer to an all-new muscle car wearing the Barracuda badge? Well, maybe not.

Challenger TA Detroit

Automakers have a habit of filing these trademarks when they just want to renew old ones. It essentially keeps things within the company that the executives aren’t willing to let go of just yet. Now, this filing could be for a future concept vehicle, or something that FCA is working on, but doesn’t have a plan on building in the immediate future. Alternatively, it could mean that the company is finally building a successor to the original Barracuda.
That said, FCA’s own internal plans for the Challenger are to end the car’s life cycle in 2018. With that, there appear to be two potential courses of action for the company. The end of a car’s life cycle could mean consumers will be getting an all-new Challenger, running on a brand new platform, with a host of new engines.

 On the other hand, FCA could be gearing up to end the Challenger platform altogether, and replace it with an all-new Barracuda.
One interesting bit of information to end on—When Ralph Gilles was head of SRT a few years ago, he was pressed about a rumor that the Barracuda was being resurrected. He flatly dismissed those rumors. Nevertheless, when has an auto executive ever shown all his cards at once?