Looking to Drive a “Zombie Car” this Halloween?

The automobile has been a part of the human experience for over 100 years. And like most businesses that have surpassed their centennial, the auto industry has been subject to some significant changes over the years. Companies that were once riding high have disappeared from the landscape altogether. And while a handful of new manufacturers, like Tesla, have emerged in recent years, over the past century more than 20 car brands are no longer with us. The death of a car company, like eliminating the vampire leader, usually means the complete elimination of their bloodline.

But, what about the unusual case? The car models that somehow survived elimination and were able to rise from the dead? Indeed, you may be driving a vehicle that has been granted a second life through rebranding or “rebadging” to use the industry term. In other words, a car that has refused to die – a Zombie Car! Just in time for Halloween, check out this example of a defunct car brand whose vehicles continue to drive among us.

Resurrected Rides

If you were a young driver in the US in the early 2000s you’d likely remember the Scion brand. Innovative designs and a clever youth-oriented sales campaign helped make Scion one of the more unique options in the compact car market. Scion stopped manufacturing cars back in 2016, but if you missed your opportunity to buy one back in the day, you could still snag a Zombie Scion. The Scion iM and iA, both popular and economical Scion models, were quickly reanimated (i.e., rebadged) and lived on for a few more years as the Toyota Corolla iM and Toyota Yaris iA. Familiar with the fun and fast Toyota GR86 available in dealer showrooms today? It is also a Zombie Car, an updated and rebranded version of the discontinued sporty Scion FR-S.

Two blue cars that look identical
A 2016 Scion iM (left) and a 2017 Toyota Corolla iM (right) Images courtesy of Start Autos Marketplace

Don’t Fear the Zombies

Scion is by no means alone in the Zombie car landscape. Several early versions of the esteemed muscle car, the Chevrolet Camaro, which was actually a rebadged Pontiac Firebird. The Dodge Stealth was a rebranded Mitsubishi 3000GT. There are numerous other rebadging examples. A car shopper’s initial reaction might be to run away screaming from these Zombie Cars, but not so fast! The fact that they were desirable enough to rebadge and bring back to life is an indication of their enduring popularity. And perhaps there’s something comforting about owning a car that just won’t die, whether in its original or resurrected version. When shopping for used cars, the reanimated version of an old favorite is more likely to have readily available parts and service. Meanwhile, the original may hold interest as a collector’s item, or at least a curiosity. How often do you get to own something for which they have broken the mold? (Even if that mold was just for the badge on the front!) Or, looking at this in another way, a Zombie Car may offer the nostalgia fix of owning an old favorite, with the confidence of driving something newer.

Our advice is to not fear the Zombies. Do your research online to find the car that meets your needs while satisfying your senses. There are a lot of online tools for car shoppers nowadays. Be sure to include Start Autos Marketplace in your research process. With Start Autos Marketplace you can:

  • leverage the power of Bing Maps for instant area searches of over three million listings
  • immediately see how the deal you found matches up with our Price Insight tool
  • use the loan calculator to estimate your payment
  • use the Research tab to drill down on the exact make and model you are after
  • check availability, dealer locations, accident reports, previous owners, and more.

You can also list your existing car with Start Autos Marketplace’s easy-to-follow, Sell Your Car feature to make some cash on your old vehicle – and give your old car new life with someone else!