Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Car, motorcycle, and consumer truck brands represent one of the most significant areas of corporate licensing in terms of sales levels, with almost all mainstream brands having established programs in place. Other vehicle-related trademarks—from boat, train, and airplane brands to camper and commercial tractor-trailer labels—are in the mix as well. A handful of recent agency representation deals involving vehicle brands of various types indicate that the sector continues to expand its presence in consumer products:

  • Scania, a trucking, transport, and bus brand, said in November that it had hired U.K.-based agency Global Trademark Licensing to extend its brand into consumer products worldwide. Licensees already in place at the time of the announcement included WSI Models, Tekno, and Mattel for products in the toy, model, and collectible categories. GTL represents a number of other automotive brands, including Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Pagani, and recently expanded its deal with Lotus Cars to include the Emira Supercar. Meanwhile, other commercial truck brands have maintained licensing efforts over the years, including Mack and Peterbilt.
  • Toyota Motor Sales retained The Joester Loria Group, in a deal announced in October, to represent its Toyota and Lexus brands for licensing deals and collaborations across multiple categories. Both brands have long been available for licensing, being two of an extensive roster of consumer car and truck brands from around the world that are active in licensed brand extension, collaborations, and experiential initiatives.
  • Pan Am World Airways paired with Firefly as its licensing agent for North America, with the agreement first reported in September. The nostalgic former airline has been active in licensing for some time, lending its name to toys and collectibles as well as an assortment of categories capturing the lifestyle of its heyday, when there was a certain prestige associated with air travel. Most airlines, both past and current, oversee licensing efforts centered in toys and collectibles, gifts and memorabilia, travel accessories, and sometimes lifestyle goods and/or brand-extension into airplane parts.
  • Hobie, a water-recreation lifestyle brand best known for its catamarans but encompassing kayaks, accessories, and other related products, retained LMCA as its global licensing agency, the companies said in August. Relevant categories include performance and other apparel, footwear, swimwear, beach accessories, fishing equipment, surf- and paddleboards, wetsuits, and water sports equipment. Other boat brands with licensing programs include Chris-Craft, which has extended into items such as paddle boards and iPhone cases.

In addition to these representation deals, there have been a number of recent brand-extension efforts (licensed and otherwise) in the vehicle-brand space. To name a few: Ice resurfacer Zamboni signed merchandise agency Bensussen Deutsch & Associates (BDA) to develop promotional items (e.g., die-cast toys, apparel, posters) for National Hockey League and American Hockey League teams. Car brands including Corvette, Chevrolet, Cadillac, and Pontiac teamed with Jazwares for Micro Machines. Ford released a promotional fragrance inspired by its electric Mustang Mach-E-GT. And Ram Trucks collaborated with both Wolverine and Lucchese for boots, the former for three styles of work boot and the latter for a luxury pair tied to its Ram 1500 Limited Longhorn 10th Anniversary truck.

Other types of vehicle brands that have ongoing licensing programs include recreational vehicles (e.g., Winnebago), snowmobiles and ATVs (Polaris), trains (Amtrak, Japan Railways’ shinkansen/bullet train), motorcycles (Indian, BSA, Kawasaki), and taxis (London Electric Vehicle Company’s Black Cab and the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission’s Yellow Cab), among many more.

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