The once unthinkable hasn't been ruled out.
Earlier this month, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and French automaker PSA announced that upon their approved merger, the new company will call itself Stellantis. The name, which means to "brighten the stars" in Latin, certainly caught many off-guard. But the automakers say it works as it signifies the alignment of several brands, among them Jeep, Dodge, Fiat, and Peugeot, into a single entity with the aim of becoming a global leader in the new mobility era.
The word "mobility" is a key phrase used by automakers these days. Names like "Motors" and "Motor Company" no longer accurately describe 21st-century car companies. They're now mobility companies. Aside from FCA-PSA, another major automaker could change its name. The Detroit Free Press reports that General Motors CEO Mary Barra won't rule out ditching the company's 100-year+ plus name.
Barra was asked the following question by a Morgan Stanley analyst during a second-quarter earnings call earlier this week: "The General Motors brand has done its job, but I'm wondering if it might be out of touch with some of the really interesting directions you're taking the business. Why not call the company Ultium, the entire company?" Ultium is the name of GM's in-house developed batteries that'll be used for its next-generation electric vehicles, including the Cadillac Lyriq.
Barra didn't outright say deny such a possibility. "We are open to looking at it… anything that we think is going to drive long-term shareholder value," she said. "We believe strongly in our EV future."
It's certainly an interesting idea and given the rapid changes the entire auto industry is experiencing these days - from the rise of electric vehicles to battery development and new public transportation alternatives - dropping words that refer to internal combustion from company names does make sense.
But for now, GM has no immediate plans to do so, though this could change if GM's big EV gamble pays off.