Three Different Brands Use “Platinum” as their Highest Pickup Trim Level

Believe it or not, there are three different manufacturers that are currently using the name "Platinum" to describe the highest trim level for their full-size pickups. In an industry where designers viciously fight on Facebook about whether or not a Lincoln looks like a Bentley, you’d think that someone would have trademarked the top trim level of a high-end truck. Weirdly, though, that’s not the case, as top trim levels of the Ford F-Series, the Toyota Tundra and the Nissan Titan all are named after a somewhat obscure precious metal.

Ford started using the Platinum name first, introducing it in 2011 as a more urban-focused variant compared to the Western-themed King Ranch edition, which was named after a ranch in Texas. Then, in 2014, Toyota added the Tundra Platinum to describe their own urban-focused truck, compared to the Western-themed 1794 Edition, which was — guess what? — named after a ranch in Texas. This is absolutely baffling to me because it’s such a blatant plagiarism of Ford’s naming convention. Any teacher would have asked Toyota to stay after class to explain the coincidence, for sure.

Nissan was the most recent, introducing their Platinum Reserve trim in 2015 — although, crucially, Nissan did not add a Western-themed trim named after a ranch in Texas to go alongside it. Nissan did add a bit of differentiation by adding the word "Reserve" on the end, as if the Titan were a fine wine from a special vineyard, but they still could have gone with a number of other options. It seems like whoever was in charge of making the decision saw that Ford and Toyota were using it and simply decided, therefore, that it must be successful. Or maybe Nissan realized that platinum was just the accepted pinnacle of precious metals and there was nowhere else to go, except Platinum Reserve. Maybe Platinum Reserve is just the automotive trim equivalent of "Infinity +1."

Sure, half the automotive world shares trim level names like S, SE, SEL, RS, GT, Sport and Limited — but that’s different. They’re either meaningless letters, or they describe a general focus of the vehicle, like how Sport models are generally made to either look or feel sportier than the rest of the lineup. Platinum is a specific precious metal used by Ford, Toyota and Nissan to represent the exact same esoteric ideas of wealth, class and sophistication, even though the English language offers hundreds of words that can describe a very classy full-size pickup truck.

Regardless, it still is strange that Ford never took Toyota or Nissan to court for their trim name plagiarism. It’s possible that there wasn’t really a case there, as other trim level names have been shared over time. Honestly, I think Ford’s reason for ignoring the platinum trucks of Toyota and Nissan is that the F-Series is so unquestionably on top of the full-size pickup market that they don’t even think of the slower-selling Tundra and Titan. Sure, it may be shameless, but it doesn’t really matter in the long run because it won’t ever steal any sales from Ford. If Chevrolet did it, though, it would probably be a different story.

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