No matter how innovative or ground-breaking the product is that you or your company created, without the right marketing and advertisement the world will seize to know about it. Most of the time your product will gain attention and reach others by ‘word of mouth’ but what if these words are more than laughter or giggles than respect?
That is what happened to the names of these automobiles. The cars could have been the greatest inventions of their time, but because of their silly and strange names there was nothing else to do, but laugh.
Created by General Motors the Chevrolet Nova was one of the top models in the 1960’s but when it came to marketing this vehicle in Central and South America, there came a little bump in the road.
The Chevrolet Nova is a compact automobile was built on the x-body platform and later replaced by the Chevrolet Citation, also not the best car name out there. So what’s in the name, you might ask? In Spanish the work ‘No va’ means “It doesn’t go”. So why on earth would you be interested in a car, which according to its name states that it won’t ‘go anywhere’. Of course this is just a difference in language and culture but one would think that all factors are considered when choosing a name, especially if you view the Spaniards to be your target market.
It’s rather unfortunate that the car which got its name from the lakeside of a resort in Switzerland also translates to ‘female genitalia’ in Spain and Portugal. Yes, you heard right, this car directly translates to Opel Vagina and no guy would be able to roam the roads of Portugal or Spain without being ridiculed.
The Ascona, a medium sized car is created by Opel and was manufactured in three generations from 1970-1988. In 1982 the motorsport version called the Ascona 400 rally car even won the World Rally Championships drivers’ title, and there is no shame in that. But if you are not a racecar driver and just your average tourist in Europe your accent would not be the only thing the locals are laughing about.
Mazda LaPuta (in spanish: “the whore”)
Most of the car name confusion seems to be stemming for the Spanish language, and it was no different for the Mazda LaPuta. Even your average reader would recognize some humiliation in that name. Even though the car’s name is derived from the Gulliver’s Travels written by Jonathan Swift, LaPuta in Spanish means ‘the whore’.
Spanish speakers would without a doubt interpret this car as being either ‘the whore’ of the Mazda selection, or even worse the person driving the car will be thought of as a whore. One cannot deny the influence a name of a car will have on its status in the automobile world. Even if the average English native tongue would think nothing weird of the name, they will soon find out that they are in fact driving ‘the whore’. The LaPuta should have stayed with its orginal name Suzuki Kei as it was called in Japan.
Oh that ‘thing’. Could Volkswagen be any less creative when it comes to naming its automobile. At least the name doesn’t refer to female genitalia you might think, but at least those creators were unaware of the implications the translations would lead to. In the case of the Volkswagen Thing, the name given to the Type 181 which is a four-door convertible with SUV properties they should have really given the process a bit more thought.
Sure, some might think that the name is rather cute just like the car, but if you have the chance to name a car anything you want to, why just stick to thing? It can probably be expected of a car brand that dubbed their other products such as The Beetle referred to as the Sedan, or the Microbus as the Station Wagon in the USA. If a car manufacturer is that plain with the naming of their products, how innovative can the product really be?
Are you ready for another rude one? The Buick LaCrosse, which was thought to be inspired by a Buick concept car in 2000 and refer to the sport, lacrosse now also carries the meaning of ‘self love’. In Quebec French slang Lacrosse refers to, how should we put it, self-gratification.
At least Buick saw the problem at the last minute and had the chance to change the name to Buick Allure for its Canadian consumers. This vehicle was one of the best selling cars in Canada until 2008, bullet dodged.
The sport styled compact car that was one the market from 1991-1999 is another example of the popularity of a car being influenced by the name. The car was aptly named Cynos in Japan and other countries, but in the United States the word Paseo’s pronunciation would really killed the car’s reputation. In Spanish the word ‘Paseo’ refers to taking a stroll or walking somewhere, but in plain English one cannot help but think of ‘piss’ or ‘puss’ when saying the car’s name.
We take it most drivers wouldn’t be happy if others took a ‘piss’ at them, and driving this car would most definitely not help with their road reputation.
Last but not least on our unfortunate car names list is the AMC Gremlin. This name is not nearly as rude, vulgar or inappropriate like the other cars mentioned, but it’s just a matter of relation. A car is not something that should be synonymous to something that either causes, or is a problem.
Driving your car is something that should be care-free, and not the ugly sister of the automobile competitors. The joke not only lies in the name, but also the fact that the first production took place on April Fool’s Day in 1970. What a joke, right?
Guest post by contributing author Richard O., written on behalf of Direct Fit Autoparts. Pay them a visit and check out their Front & Rear Shock Absorbers!