2021 GR Supra Family_001 scaled2021 GR Supra Family_001 scaled

2021 Toyota Supra.

Toyota


  • Lately, many carmakers are playing to consumer nostalgia by bringing back old model names for their new cars. 
  • In terms of the US market, the new Toyota Supra, Ford Ranger, Jeep Gladiator, and Chevrolet Blazer are all throwbacks to long-discontinued models. 
  • And more revivals are coming soon — a new Ford Bronco, VW Microbus, GMC Hummer, and Jeep Wagoneer will be revealed in the not-too-distant future. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Like a cast reunion or a live-action Disney remake, sometimes the easiest approach to the future requires reaching into the past. Nostalgia sells, no matter what new form it may take. 

Nostalgia also happens to be the latest trend in the automotive industry, as automakers like Toyota, Ford, and General Motors rely on that strategy by bringing back old names for their new cars. Just in the last couple of years, Toyota introduced the new Supra, Land Rover revived the Defender, and Jeep gave the Gladiator new life.

Moreover, several discontinued models are slated for revival soon, like the Hummer, Bronco, and Jeep Wagoneer. Here’s hoping the Subaru Baja and Toyota MR2 are next in line. 

The revival tactic makes perfect sense, too — aside from the risk of tarnishing an iconic nameplate. It’s cheaper and easier to bring back an old, nostalgia-inducing moniker than it is to develop and test a new name on the market, making that route an obvious choice.

Learn more about the new models — and the beloved cars they’re based on — below.

The Toyota Supra was built across four generations beginning in the late 1970s, and was discontinued in the US market in 1998.

Toyota Celica Supra

1981 Toyota Celica Supra.

Toyota


Source: Autotrader

The Supra’s last generation before its revival — the MK IV — has reached icon status over the last 22 years, with clean, low-mileage examples sometimes fetching six figures at auction.

1994 Toyota Supra Turbo_0

Toyota Supra MK IV.


RMSotheby’s



In 2019, Toyota rebooted the Supra for 2020. While the car initially got some flack for its BMW underpinnings, it still packs all of the performance, affordability, and reliability that made the Supra a legend.

2021 Toyota Supra

2021 Toyota Supra.

Toyota


General Motors first rolled out the pickup-based Chevrolet Blazer in 1969 to compete with other big, boxy SUVs like the International Harvester Scout and Ford Bronco.

1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer

1969 Chevrolet Blazer.

Chevrolet


Source: CNET

Chevy axed the Blazer in 2005 and, after a long hiatus, rolled out the 2019 Blazer, an SUV meant to compete with the other crossovers like the Ford Edge and Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Chevy Blazer

Chevrolet Blazer.

Chevrolet


Ford brought the Bronco to market in 1966 as a capable, rugged four-wheeler. In its final generation, sold from 1992 through 1996, the SUV gained infamy as the car OJ Simpson was in during his 1994 car chase.

1966 ford bronco

1966 Ford Bronco.

Ford


Source: Automobile, LA Times

A new Bronco is slated to debut this spring. So far, all we know about the 2021 Bronco’s looks comes from spy shots and a Baja racing prototype.

Ford Bronco race prototype.

Ford Bronco race prototype.

Ford


Jeep first introduced the Gladiator — later called the J-Series truck— in 1963.

1963 jeep gladiator

1963 Jeep Gladiator.

Jeep


Source: Jeep

The J-Series was discontinued in 1987, but Jeep revived the Gladiator as a new Wrangler-based pickup for the 2020 model year.

Jeep Gladiator

Jeep Gladiator.

Jeep


Before Land Rover was primarily known for making cushy luxury SUVs, it built some of the best off-roaders around, the most famous being the Defender.

Land Rover Defender

Land Rover Defender.

Jaguar Land Rover


Land Rover pulled the Defender from the US market in 1997, but is reintroducing it this year. The four-door Defender 110 will hit showrooms this spring, while the two-door Defender 90 will go on sale in the summer.

Land Rover Defender

2020 Land Rover Defender.

Jaguar Land Rover


Source: Car and Driver

The Hummer — an unabashed, excessive, gas-guzzler — was sold across three generations from 1992 to 2010.

Hummer H1

Hummer H1.

Getty Images


GM shuttered the Hummer brand in 2010, but plans to reboot the Hummer name this year. Unexpectedly, the new Hummer will be a zero-emission, electric pickup truck under the GMC brand.

GMC HUMMER EV Quiet Revolution Grille

The teaser photo for the new GMC Hummer.

GMC


More: Business Insider

Honda’s new Passport, which debuted for 2019, is just one of many crossovers the brand offers.

Honda Passport 2019

The Honda Passport.

Honda


But when the rugged four-by-four debuted in 1993, it was part of a scramble by Honda to enter the growing SUV market. Originally a rebadged Isuzu Rodeo, the Passport was Honda’s way of quickly getting in on the SUV craze of the 1990s.

Honda Passport 2001

Honda Passport.

Honda


Source: Autotrader

Ford initially sold the compact Ranger pickup stateside from 1983 to 2011.

2011 Ford Ranger

Ford Ranger.

Ford


Source: CNET

The Blue Oval brought back the beloved truck for the 2019 model year, but as a larger mid-size offering. Let’s hope Ford also brings its tuned-up Ranger Raptor — the smaller sibling to the F-150 Raptor — to the US sometime soon.

Ford Ranger

Ford Ranger.

Matthew DeBord/BI


In 2017, Volkswagen announced that it will bring back the a new version of the iconic Microbus in 2022. When it was first sold in the US in 1950, the VW Bus sported a 30-horsepower engine.

volkswagen microbus

VW Microbus.

Shutterstock/ Gabor Tinz


Source: VW

The new version of the Microbus will be electric, and the concept version of it — called the I.D. Buzz — serves up 369 horsepower. We don’t yet know the name of the new bus, but it’s a throwback nonetheless.

VW Volkswagen ID Buzz

Volkswagen ID Buzz concept.

Volkswagen


Though we don’t have too much in the way of details yet, it’s been reported that a new Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are on the way for 2021.

Jeep Grand Wagoneer

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Jeep Grand Wagoneer.

Jeep


Source: Car and Driver

The upcoming vehicles inherit the Wagoneer name from the boxy, stylish, and sometimes-wood-paneled SUV that was sold beginning in 1962.

Jeep Grand Wagoneer 1984

Jeep Grand Wagoneer.

Jeep


Source: Jeep

Resurrecting iconic nameplates is a funny thing, because it can either be a huge success or a huge flop. But it’s also the automotive industry’s latest trend, and we’ll just have to see how it plays out.

2020 GR Supra group

The 2020 Toyota Supra.

Toyota


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