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Fiat Chrysler and PSA Group will have a new name: Stellantis. Yes, it's dumb - L.A. Focus Newspaper

Is it a new medication for a medical condition you never heard of, where the drugmaker's ad tells you to "ask your doctor?"

Is it the umpteenth new streaming service of 2020?

Is it a new app or social media platform that your kids are enjoying before their parents discover it?

None of the above. It's the new name for the automaker that will be formed by the merger of Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) and PSA Group, which makes Peugeot, among other brands. The deal is expected to close next year.

The name was unveiled Wednesday night. The company said it comes from "the Latin verb 'stello,' meaning 'to brighten with stars.'"

"It draws inspiration from this new and ambitious alignment of storied automotive brands and strong company cultures that in coming together are creating one of the new leaders in the next era of mobility while at the same time preserving all the exceptional value and the values of its constituent parts," said the company's statement.

You won't see Stellantis on the company's cars or dealerships, however. It will simply be the corporate name.

The brand names of Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Jeep, Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Maserati, all part of Fiat Chrysler today, will continue. So will Peugeot, Citroën, DS, Opel and Vauxhall, which are the PSA Group brands, none of which are available in the US market.

It's unusual in the auto industry to have a corporate name that does not include one of a company's brands. Until now, General Motors (GM) and Daimler (DDAIF) were the exceptions among global automakers. Both names go back more than a century.

All other major automakers - such as Toyota (TM), Volkswagen (VLKAF), Ford (F) and the rest - have names that reflect their best selling brands. All but Tesla (TSLA) have other car brands not in their corporate names.

Chrysler has been through two other mergers in the past 25 years and the name of its most famous brand stayed in the corporate name both times, with DaimlerChrysler and Fiat Chrysler. In between it was owned by a private equity firm and used solely the Chrysler name.

An uneven history of creating new corporate names

Coming up with new corporate names can be a tricky business.

Often during a merger a company will simply chose the brand it believes to be stronger, even if it's not the company doing the buying.

America West bought US Airways out of bankruptcy and took the US Air name. Then the new US Air bought American Airlines (AAL), again out of bankruptcy, and took the American Airlines name. The recent merger of Sprint and T-Mobile was done under the T-Mobile (TMUS) name.

But often a new name is concocted as part of a merger. Verizon (VZ) was formed by the 2000 merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE. That made-up word raised eyebrows then just as Stellantis is this morning, but in the last 20 years it's become a major established brand name that few think twice about today.

Other names haven't aged as well. Verizon created a subsidiary called Oath in 2017 to hold the assets