Cobalt

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Cobalt Motors Corporation
TypePublic
Traded asVSX: COB
IndustryAutomotive
Founded27 May 1843
FounderAlfred Sinclair
HeadquartersSilverton, Queenboro, Vodeo
Area servedWorldwide
Key peopleLucy Atkinson (CEO)
Albert Batchelor (President)
ProductsAutomobiles
Motorcycles
RevenueIncrease 491.7 million (2017)
Operating incomeIncrease V£37.86 million (2017)
Net incomeIncrease V£21.13 million (2017)
DivisionsCobalt
Fell
Cobalt Special Performance
Dominion Motors
Overlander
SloganWhere to?
Websitecobalt.co.vd

Cobalt, formally Cobalt Motors Corporation, is an Vodean automobile manufacturer headquartered in Silverton, Queensboro. The company sells passenger cars and light commercial vehicles under the Cobalt and Fell marques, luxury vehicles under the Dominion marque, motorcycles under the Overlander marque, and performance vehicles under the Cobalt Special Performance (CSP) marque; in the past it has also sold buses and trucks under the Stagecoach and Workman brands, respectively. For much of its automotive history Cobalt has been the largest selling car brand in Vodeo, and is one of the most popular car marques in Tarephia and Antarephia. Since the late 1900s Cobalt has been active in motorsports, including rallying and the Vodean Touring Car Championship; since 1966 it has done so with its CSP vehicles.

Notable former Cobalt production cars include the Belvoir, Dominion, Runciman, Rutlander, and Stationer. The current Cobalt car range consists of the Admiral (full-size), Delta (MPV), Estate (station wagon), Indigo (mid-size), Kingfisher (pony car), Lanemaster (city car), Powerline (compact electric), Record (compact), Stagecoach (SUV), Trinity (sports), and Workman (coupé utility). Cobalt sells high-performance versions of some of its models under the CSP marque.

Cobalt vehicles are produced in Silverton, Holme, and in Troie, Broceliande. Cobalt previously operated production or assembly plants in Avington, Gerrise, and Saviso, but operations were gradually consolidated into its current factories between 1987 and 1995.

History

Cobalt was established by Alfred Sinclair as the Cobalt Carriage Works in Silverton on 27 May 1843. While initially planning to trade as the "Sinclair Carriage Works", he was unable to because another Silverton company, Lytton, Sinclair & Co, produced railway carriages. The commonly accepted origin for the company's name comes from Sinclair's wife Anna, who had recently purchased a set of cobalt blue chinaware, and had suggested the name over at the dinner table one evening. Sinclair's company eventually grew to become one of the biggest carriage and manufacturers in Vodeo, expanding into horse tram carriages and electric in the 1870s and 1890s, respectively.

Sinclair's grandson William joined the company in 1887, and after seeing a demonstration of a horseless carriage in Broceliande in 1895, pushed for the company to begin constructing automobiles. Upon becoming chairman in 1896, Sinclair authorised the construction of "a thoroughly Vodean auto-mobile that wears the name 'Cobalt' with the utmost pride." The first Cobalt, known as the "Cobalt Auto-Carriage", was completed on 3 February 1897. This car, complete with the number '1' inscribed on the dashboard (all Auto-Carriages were conspicuously numbered in this manner until the end of their production in 1906), now resides in the National Museum of Vodeo in Saviso.

Cobalt closed its truck and bus manufacturing operations in May 1951 after agreeing to do so as part of the "Gentlemen's Agreement" in 1949. The agreement stated that Cobalt would not produce trucks or buses that would compete with Tace (although coupé utilities and small commercial vehicles were excepted), while Tace would not produce passenger vehicles or motorcycles to compete with Cobalt. This agreement has lasted into the present day, and was renewed in 1986 following the merger of Tace and the Straven Engineering Company into Straven Tace in 1985, at Straven Tace's suggestion. It continues to be honoured, and is held as a source of corporate pride for both companies. Because coupé utilities were excepted from the agreement, vehicles from all three can be seen at the annual Ute Run (part of the Vodean Touring Car Championship).

The 1957 Cobalt Belvoir (four-door sedan seen here) is considered a quintessentially Vodean car, and has since become an icon of the 1950s. Originally priced at £460 and up in 1957, models can easily surpass £3,000 today.

Cobalt's growth saw it absorb a number of companies over the course of the 20th century, most notably Overlander in 1938 and Fell of Ingerland in 1952, the latter of which replaced Cobalt's own presence in Ingerland and western Uletha from 1955 onward.

Belle the Cat

Since 1926, Cobalt's mascot has been a small black cat named Belle. Named for the cat of one of the company's chief designers, she was initially used to advertise the 1927 Special Eight. She was kept on through to 1931, when she was retired. According to popular legend, Cobalt was inundated with letters asking what had happened to Belle, many of which were written by children. Belle was reinstated in the company's advertising in 1933, and in 1936 was officially made the company's mascot.

The introduction of the Trinity sports car in 1953 saw Belle adopted as the car's official mascot, in addition to being that of the entire Cobalt family. Whereas she had previously been seen either sitting or sleeping on, around, or in the cars she was advertising, in print media for the Trinity she was seen running at speed. While in other Cobalt advertising she was entirely black, in Trinity advertising she was seen with a red streak down her side as a reference to the Trinity's "speed stripes". Today the image of Belle (complete with streak) appearing to be in flight remains the car's logo.

In 1956, Belle appeared on television for the first time as a cartoon, advertising the company's 1957 lineup (famously draped over the bonnet of a 1957 "Belle-voir"). In February 1957 she appeared in the opening titles of The Cobalt Variety Hour on National Television, and between 1958 and 1961 in her own cartoon series. Seeing a marketing opportunity, Cobalt began producing books, soft toys, and other merchandising material in 1958. Belle appeared in Cobalt's television advertising until 1966 and print advertising until 1968, when she was retired. After a long hiatus, she reappeared in Cobalt's advertising in 1989, and has maintained a presence ever since.

Belle's major presence in Vodean pop culture in the 1950s and 1960s, and again to an extent since the late 1980s, has made her a Vodean advertising icon. In 2010 historian David Prescott noted that "in the '50s and '60s, Vodean advertising didn't belong to the man who advertised Quick radios and televisions, the woman who smoked Davis cigarettes, or to the children who cheerily ate their Packard peas. It belonged to a little black cat with a penchant for sleeping on cars."[1]

List of Cobalt makes

Makes in boldface are currently in production.

Brand Model years Type Notes
Able 1928-1951 Coupé utility Originally produced as a make of Workman, the Able was made into its own make in 1934.
Admiral 1975-present Mid-size (1975-1983)
Full-size (1983-present)
Cobalt's biggest-selling car both in Vodeo and internationally.
Makes: AA (1975-77), AB (1978-79), AC (1980-82), AD (1983-84), AE (1985-88), AF (1989-91), AG (1992-94), AH (1995-97), AI (1998-99), AJ (2000-03), AK (2004-07), AL (2008-13), AM (2014-present)
Advantage 1916-1926 Full-size The Advantage was renamed A6 in 1918, but all cars in the family (A6, A8, A10, and A12) were still advertised as Advantages (i.e. Advantage A6) during the rest of production.
Auto-Carriage 1897-1906 Full-size The first Vodean-produced car.
Belvoir 1949-1970 Full-size The 1957 Belvoir is the company's most famous car, and in 1999 was voted "Vodeo's Car of the Century".
Cadet 1936-1947 Mid-size
Charter 1984-1992 Mid-size
Companion 1937-1953 Station wagon A woodie replacement for the Silverman, the Companion became a popular collector's item in the surf craze of the 1960s.
Consolidation 1910-1912
1960-1966
2010
Full-size Specially produced to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Vodean Consolidation. Revived by Dominion in 1959 for the 1960-1966 model years, and again for the 2010 model year.
Corsair 1956-1965 Mid-size
Delta 1994-present MPV
Dominion 1935-1953 Full-size, luxury Separated into the Dominion Motors division in 1953.
Easterner 1932-1950 Full-size
Equerry 1986-1995 Station wagon
Estate 1954-1985
1996-present
Station wagon
Eureka 1924-1930 Full-size
Indigo 2007-present Mid-size
Kingfisher 1935-1944
1969-present
Full-size (1935-1944)
Pony car (1969-present)
Named for Vodeo's national bird, the Equatorial Kingfisher. Originally a full-size car, the name was revived in 1969.
Lanemaster 2007-present City car
Mansfield 1943-1968 Full-size
Minister 1948-1955 Mid-size
Noratia 1993-2006 Mid-size Named for the Beha name for Tarephia, Kaiaua Noratia.
Overlander 1938-1950 Motorcycle Originally known as the "Cobalt Overlander" following Cobalt's purchase of the Overlander Motorcycle Company in 1938. The brand was split off into its own division in 1950.
Panelmaster 1952-1964 Full-size panel van Introduced to replace the Workman, and based on the Stationer coupé utility. Ceased to be a separate make in 1964 but became a variant of the Stationer from 1965 onward.
Powerline 2010-present Compact, electric The Powerline is one of the first electric vehicles to see widespread adoption.
Record 1955-1969
1982-present
Compact
Runciman 1957-1985 Mid-size
Shilling 1966-1974 Mid-size
Silverman 1934-1937 Station wagon
Sinclair 1949-1960 Compact Introduced to mark the 150th anniversary of Alfred Sinclair's birth.
Special 1899-1940 Full-size, luxury Ceased to be an individual brand in 1937, became a make of Dominion between 1937 and 1940. Revived by Dominion between 1971 and 1978.
Stagecoach 1913-1951
1990-present
Bus (1913-1951)
SUV (1990-present)
Stagecoach was Cobalt's bus brand until 1951. The name was revived for the company's SUV range as a replacement of the Trackmaster in 1990.
Stationer 1952-1978 Coupé utility
Panel van (1965-1978)
Introduced to replace the Workman.
Success 1907-1915 Full-size
Trackmaster 1968-1989 SUV
Trinity 1953-present Sports
Windsor 1927-1933 Full-size
Workman 1909-1951
1979-present
Truck (1909-1951)
Coupé utility, panel van (1979-present)
Workman was Cobalt's truck brand until 1951. The name was revived to replace the Stationer in 1979.

References and notes

  1. Prescott, M. (2010). Hello, Vodeo!: A History of Vodean Television, 1942-2010. Saviso, Vodeo: Federation Press.