Ford's Excursion nameplate unexpectedly appears on patent application

Ronan Glon

Ford is preparing to resurrect the Bronco, and recent trademark filings suggest a born-again Excursion could join the off-roader in showrooms sooner or later. The Blue Oval applied this month to protect the name.

Documents published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office reveal Ford asked to keep the name for something related to "automobiles, pickup trucks, electric vehicles, sport utility vehicles, off-road vehicles, and their structural parts." Although that's not a confirmation that the gigantic Excursion will ineluctably make a comeback, it's a sign product planners haven't forgotten they consigned the nameplate to the attic in 2005.

Our colleagues at Motor Trend speculated Ford might recycle the Excursion nameplate on a battery-powered SUV; electric car etiquette dictates it'd arrive as the E-Xcursion to needlessly emphasize the fact that it doesn't burn gasoline or diesel. There's no official information to support this claim, but it would make sense.

We know Ford plans to add several electric cars, trucks, and SUVs to its lineup in the coming years, and it's allocating billions to research and development. We also know General Motors is dusting off the Hummer nameplate to use it on an electric, adventure-ready pickup it will assign to its GMC brand. Rivian is gearing up to enter this blossoming segment, too. Viewed in this light, it's not difficult to imagine a 2020s Excursion built on top of a massive lithium-ion battery pack, because Ford will ultimately need to find a way into this ring. The components it's developing to underpin the upcoming electric F-150 are likely modular enough to put in an SUV.

Of course, we can't rule out the possibility that Ford wants to de-mummify the Excursion nameplate to use it on a burly truck that will pick up where the original model (pictured) left off. The long-wheelbase Expedition partly filled the void created by the Super Duty-based people-mover, so a modern version of it would need to somehow stand out. It could be bigger, or it could be more off-road-capable. The demand might be there, too. There's a small shop in Oklahoma that makes a new version of the Excursion with updated bones. It churns out about 40 units of the nine-seater SUVs annually, and some people spend as much as $100,000 to get their hands on one.

Finally, it's important to remember automakers regularly trademark nameplates to ensure they don't end up in the hands of competitors. Ford understandably wouldn't want Land Rover, GMC, or Hongqi to introduce a model called Excursion (or, if you prefer, E-Xcursion) and the trademark filing, if approved, would let it keep the name for itself even if never puts it on another car. Time will tell what the Blue Oval has in store for it.

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