Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Why wouldn't car makers put the year on the back

There is the car logo badge, the model like Tundra, ES300, XL-7, AWD and so on in chrome. But never put the year on it. Why not put the year so everyone can easily identify what year model the car is?

I guess that you’re too young to remember when General Motors tried this–albeit to a very limited extent–back in the mid-late '50s.

Since there clearly wasn’t a hue and cry for this practice to be extended to other models, the idea died with Buick’s limited use of this idea for…at most…three years.


1 Like

I honestly cannot see why they would.
Is there a possible benefit that I’m overlooking?


I think that’s a very good idea. It would make it more interesting looking at the model years of the cars in front of you while waiting at the stop light. Like VDCdrivers says above, it has been done in the past. But it would be a good idea for now too. And another advantage, if you owned a 2002 and wanted it to appear to be a 2017, no problem, just buy a 2017 badge and bolt it on. Saves money on new car expenses.


I would venture a guess that most people in traffic don’t care what year car they are following.


Buick did this in 1956 and 1957. However, I think Buick quit doing it because people are status concious. Back in the 1950s, a 2 year old car was considered ancient.

1 Like

And would it be the year made, or model year? It could get confusing.

1 Like

We could have 2017 - 2017 1/2 - 2017 3/4 and 2018-1/4 for next years cars sold this year.

Im sure many people wouldnt like everyone knowing they drive an older car. That keeping up with the joneses stuff and vanity thing. That being said, older gm cars had the year cast into the taillight lense. Had to get real close to see it but at car shows or parking lots you could settle your curiosity…

1 Like

Then vica versa, if you buy similar, no one knows you have a new one. My neighbor has two nearly identical trucks. One new and one two years old. I can’t tell which is which. We also had an acquaintance inquire about buying our car when we were trading. Problem was we had already traded a year before but who knew?

At any rate, I’ve never had an issue with the year, but I do wish they would identify the manufacturer. A lot of them must use the same graphics consultant because they use a circle with a little variation in the middle that who can tell what it stands for? I probably don’t know what an A501C is so can’t they just say Ford, Audi, BMW, Chev, Toyota, Honda, etc??


Bingo! Most people don’t want their neighbors to know the car is 2-3-4-5 or whatever years old.

In Germany, I know that at least the German car makes, the buyer can have ALL the badges deleted if requested. That way you can drive the small 4 cylinder 5-series BMW and your neighbors won’t know its not the more expensive 6 or turbo 6.

Sounds like a question for the car makers. Why don’t you ask them? Just don’t hold your breathe waiting on the the reply. :scream:

No car maker is going to add several $ cost to add an item that isn’t needed for compliance and isn’t desired by most buyers.

Casting the year into the tail light seemed to be the norm for most car manufacturers in the 60’s and 70’s (which I found helpful growing up back then and curious about cars), but it could sometimes be deceiving. If a manufacturer used the same tail light design for more than one year they would not change the year on the tail light. My dad, for example, had a 1973 Thunderbird that differed from the 1972 T-Bird in the front but the backs of the cars, including tail lights, were identical. The tail light said 72. VW bugs were also confusing in the same way. I can think of a few others as well.

I find it a badge of honor…When I had my 98 Pathfinder with well over 300k miles on it…friends would ask - “You still driving that old thing?” And Id tell them since the vehicle is running PERFECTLY and not a bit a trouble…why wouldn’t I. I’m looking forward to the day my 14 Highlander is 10 years old with 300k miles on it.


Is a ten year old vehicle considered to be old in your area?

Not so much years…but miles…At 10 years old my 98 Pathfinder had over 350k miles

How would anyone know how may miles are on your truck? Nobody has ever asked the mileage of my vehicles.

Nowadays, vehicles tend to get so little rust damage, and tend to stay in good mechanical condition for so long, that it can be difficult to figure out exactly how old they are!

Automobile manufacturers would not spend a nickel much less several dollars.