Ford wades into rumor-infested waters by renewing Splash trademark


Long-term employees of the United States Patent Office must be having déjà vu. After filing a trademark for the Lightning nameplate, Ford moved to protect the Splash designation it used for several years during the 1990s.

Set your time machine back to the 1993 model year. Ford’s entry-level Ranger received comprehensive updates that brought a more rounded exterior design and a more modern interior. It was largely aimed at young buyers, so the Blue Oval introduced an appearance package named Splash about halfway through the model year to drive the point home. The truck was initially offered with a short box, rear-wheel-drive, the so-called Sport interior, and in either Vibrant Red, Brilliant Blue Clearcoat Metallic, or Oxford White. Specific decals rounded out the changes.

Back to the present: Ford’s trademark application simply lists a number of different vehicle types as the Splash name’s intended uses. It could choose to release a more colorful version of the Ranger, regardless of whether the edition follows the guidelines set by the original Splash, or it might give the designation to the new Maverick. What strikes us as odd is that the Splash was cheap, cheerful, and road-focused, and the demand for such a truck simply isn’t there anymore. Some speculate Splash will denote another electric model, but no hard evidence backs it up.


Keep in mind a trademark filing is not a guarantee that the name it protects will be used on a production vehicle. Carmakers sometimes file trademarks to prevent rivals from using a nameplate, or simply to keep it in their arsenal. Even if the name does end up on a truck, nothing says it will reach showrooms; the model could be a concept. As of writing, Ford hasn’t commented on the report, and it hasn’t announced plans to make another Splash.

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