It’s a sad day when one of the most iconic race car–livery naming-rights brands is closed and takes its design with it. As of last month, Calsonic Kansei is no more. Known for its bright blue livery, which has graced many a bubble-era race car, Calsonic will henceforth be branded ‘Marelli’ — as in Magneti Marelli SpA, the Italian supplier of electronics, fuel-injection systems, and engine components, whose own logo has also graced many famed race cars from the other side of the globe.
Beloved in Japan and across the world, thanks to the hugely successful Group A Skyline GT-R championship winners, the company was perhaps less known outside the enthusiast community. Formed in 1988, when Nihon Radiator and Kansei merged, the company became one of Japan’s top suppliers of heat exchangers and vehicle electronics. As part of Japan’s keiretsu system, Nissan owned a majority stake in Calsonic Kansei, and, according to Automotive News, supplying parts to Nissan comprised 85 per cent of the company’s sales.
In 2016, Nissan sold its 41 per cent share of Calsonic for US$4.5 billion and, in 2018, when Magnetti Marelli was listed for sale, Calsonic acquired it for US$7.1 billion.
Sadly, the rebranding means that the name ‘Calsonic’ will disappear and it’s not clear what will happen to the blue livery of the Team Impul Calsonic GT-R that competes in the current GT500 class of Super GT in Japan. We can only hope that the styling remains, albeit with a different combination of letters down the doors.