Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Dumb car names

fezofezo Posts: 9,520
edited March 2014 in General
Now there have been loads of really awful car names out tere but I won't take all the fun. I'll just start with the one that started me here. I stopped by the Hyundai dealership, mostly to peek at an Entourage (OK name) and they have in the showroom an Azera.

I don't know. This sounds like a Midlle Eastern terrorist group to me rather than a car. Too bad - I thought it was a nice car.


  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Well, THIS could be fun....

    "Probe" always has been a strange one in my book; especially considering it's target demographic.

    btw - welcome back. ;)
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,520
    Long time no hear!

    Ah, the Probe! I can still remember Jay Leno (maybe as long ago as when he was subbing for Carson) talking about car names at the time and the headline "Celebrity Rear-ended by a Probe."..... Ouch!
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    It's supposed to be the all-purpose car, can do everything from A to Z, at least that's what I recall hearing.

    Better than those stupid alphanumeric names -- not the old easily remembered ones like BMW's -- but the newer ones from Cadillac and Lincoln.
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    ...was the Ford Aspire. A friend of mine had one, and she described it best -- "It aspires to be a car." Presumably, it failed.

    Probe wasn't such a good one, either. Makes me think of a trip to the doctor's office, which can't be a good thing.
  • turboshadowturboshadow Posts: 349
    ...was bad. So was Acheiva.
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    I think Olds really seemed to lose it in the 1980s when it started going with all the made-up names.

    Ciera, Achieva, Bravada, Alero...was it just me, or were names like Delta 88, Cutlass and Vista Cruiser ( :blush: ) so much more evocative and cool?
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,520
    Evocative and cool names are what you look for.

    Silly names can be lethal. I would bet that Ford lost thousands in sales just because people didn't want to drive a car called a Probe. I know for me a ridiculous name is like a hideous color. Doesn't matter how good the rest of the car is. You'll see tat every day and it will raise your blood pressure.

    Aspire and Achieva were classic dumb names, though I think what killed Olds was this grand plan to be the import fighter, a period in which they put out some of the best looking things to come out of GM in ages, but without the mechanicals underneath. At the same time they offered nothing for their traditional base who either went to Buick or said "if I'm going to drive a car that looks like that I may as well buy a Toyota." And they did. In droves.

    Saturn Relay struck me as odd. Are they implying that you'll need another one stationed up the road for when this one conks out?

    There are just tons of nothing names out there. Ones that conjure up nothing but aren't classically dumb - Honda Accord, Civic (that comes close to dumb), Toyota Camry.

    At least Subaru has named a couple of things that sound either desirable or evoke the image they are trying to market - Legacy, Outback, Forester. Of course then they blow it with a silly name like Impreza. Don't know who you are trying to imprezz.
  • wonderwallwonderwall Posts: 126
    what the heck is an elantra?
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,520
    I haven't figured that one out either. Tiburion is a funny name, too. In the Hyundai world the only names that impress me are the van (Entouage) and maybe the Sante Fe which at least makes for an image.

    I'll never figure out Sonata. It is not an awful name but it doesn't say anything either. It has become a serious car, however.At least you know why Hyundai dropped the Excel name - because the car didn't.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    ...are names that most folks can't even pronounce: Touareg?

    Nevermind what IS a Touareg; most of the salesmen when this thing came out had no idea how to even SAY it..... :confuse:
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,232
    ...Merkur? It was supposed to be pronounced "mare-KOOR" but dealers pronounced it "merk-er." Either way, it sounds awful.
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    a decent name I think, esp. since the car sports those fender "gills".

    Better than the "S coupe" it replaced... ;)

    As far as Merkur, I thought Scorpio was a good name, but XR4ti was much worse than Sierra...jeeze Ford can't you ever leave the good stuff alone? :(
  • la4meadla4mead Posts: 347
    I think I heard somewhere Touareg was named after a group of people from Northern Africa... But you are right, it seems like VW has some oddballs. Did they think what Passat sounded like in English?

    Has anyone here (car fans, I assume) ever either bought or not purchased a car because of it's name? Perhaps folks who aren't interested in all attributes perceive a car by how they are named, marketed and styled.

    I'll take a poorly named but well-built car that fits my needs, and just laugh about it. This is a good place for it!

    Aspire, really. Is that what you are thinking when you are behind one going up a hill (is it breathing hard)? Supra? Isn't that a little arrogant? Should have had a big "S" on the hood. How about Nova... (dumb for a car in more than one language). Motorcycles aren't immune... I have a Kawi "KLR".
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    If I was an automaker experimenting with new car names, I'd subject it to a "party test": Tell people at a party that you drive a car with such-and-such a name, and measure the reaction.

    While I wouldn't expect most people to do cartwheels over perfectly acceptable names, you might know that you have a problem if you feel a bit embarrassed about admitting it or if people respond with snickers or a hint of contempt, as opposed to interest or curiosity. Saying that you have a Probe just sounds a bit weird, while a name like Achieva could be the basis for a lot of bad jokes after a few drinks...
  • sky23213sky23213 Posts: 298
    There is a Russian make called LADA, but that's not the funny one. One of their early 70s model was named "Giguly" (dji-gu-li), after the town where the manufacturing plant was located. Not that you'd expect them to catch that, but those early models were made after an italian FIAT model, even the earliest models had lots of FIAT parts.
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    the name Probe that much...always thought it had a quasi-high tech, futuristic sound to it that seemed to match the car's styling (esp. the wedgy 1st gen) But I can understand why most people didn't like it.

    I think the Probe is a good example of Ia4mead's question about whether the name really matters...the Probe was a quite competent, good value-for-money sport coupe; I knew plenty of people who owned them. (Funny that back then, the Ford was the racy one while its Mazda counterpart the MX-6 was the demure times and brands change)
  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    Until I got used to it, "3-series" struck me as a stupid name for a car, especially if that car was trying to have any personality at all.
  • au1994au1994 Posts: 826
    I think Tiburon is Spanish for shark.

    2013 335i Sport Line Alpine White over Coral Red w/Black Trim

    2005 330cic ZHP Monaco Blue over Natural Brown w/Black Trim

  • fezofezo Posts: 9,520
    A car with a stupid name? I haven't. I've had lots with generic names (heck, I;I've owned 3 Accords), but I don't think a terrible name would stop me if I really liked the car.

    Now, color is another subject. It falls right in there with design. You could have the best performing vehicle, the absolute perfect combination of fun to drive and practicality, quiet as a church and more powerful than a locomotive and gets 200 mpg, but if it looks like a mustard Aztek forget it.

    Funny thing, a woman at work got a great deal on a Focus (an in between name) because it's that awful mustard color. She tried every trick to keep lowering the price and they finally brought out this perfectly fine car painted an awful color at several hundred dollars less than the same car in a decent color. She had the theory that she didn't have to look at much of the color when she was driving it so what the heck.

    Same line of thought. I was in the Honda dealership the other day and actually sat in an Element (dumb name). From the inside it's fine. This one was actually silver with non cladding and didn't look half as awful as a normal Element.
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    Hey, I like that eggyoke yellow for the Focus...bright primary colors look very European on small econocars IMO. :)

    And it's not like having a Focus in black makes it look menacing or serious or anything... ;)
  • saabturboidsaabturboid Posts: 178
    How about these?

    Chevy Nova: Nova in Spanish and French means "won't go".
    Buick LaCrosse: LaCrosse in French speaking Quebec has a negative sexual connotation.

    My personal pet peeve stupid names:

    Ford: FreeStar and FreeStyle. The names themselves they are fine, but to offer both models at the same time is very confusing. One is a Minivan while the other is a crossover SUV. They are completely different vehicles. I own a Freestyle and when I tell most people this they think I own a minivan.

    Also, why do manufacturers update a vehicle by making a few minor changes and then change the name thinking we are all so stupid to think it is a completely new vehicle? Once again I have to bring up the Freestar. It used to be called a Windstar. Yes, a few changes were made but this is the same basic vehicle.

    Lexus also drives me nuts with their stupid numbering schemes. Who the heck knows what a Lexus GS470C3POR2D2 is?
  • tncarmantncarman Posts: 82
    First of all for bad names, its gotta be the Buick Lucerne. Sure its a city, but most people don't know that, it sounds like some 95 year old womens name.

    Then there's the Volkswagen Golf. That thing could barely even hold a couple of golf bags, plus it makes it sound like u drivea golf cart. Not cool, and now there reoplacing it with the rabbit, even better.

    And last, Yaris. What the heck does it mean? It just sounds stupid...
  • wamba2000wamba2000 Posts: 146
    OK, just so you know that not only US makers have name about the Datsun (Nissan) 240Z ? If memory serves me, the Japanese name was the "Fair Lady" ?

    I was one of those people that bought a MERKUR back in 1985, the XR4ti model. Thought it was going to be a great car, and when it ran, it really was a kick to drive....but seems like it wanted to visit the shop almost every month. Was happy when it was traded and probably ended up in the junkyard.
  • prosaprosa Posts: 280
    First of all for bad names, its gotta be the Buick Lucerne. Sure its a city, but most people don't know that, it sounds like some 95 year old womens name.

    Right in Buick's target age bracket :P
  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    "OK, just so you know that not only US makers have name about the Datsun (Nissan) 240Z ? If memory serves me, the Japanese name was the "Fair Lady" ? "

    True true. The Z has always been the Fairlady in Japan. The 240sx coupe was the Silvia.

    And then there's Honda, whose cars include the Life (with the variants Life Dunk and Life Dunk Diva) and the That's.


    Every time one of these discussions comes up I have to point out, as a Spanish speaker, that Nova means the same thing in Spanish - a rapidly expanding star. It's pronounced NO-va, while "it doesn't work" is no-VA. So making a joke out of it is a stretch, and works only as well as those jokes that come on popsicle sticks.


    And from the sound of what we consider to be dumb names in this thread, I'm not surprised everyone's starting to use alphanumeric names.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,520
    That Merkur sounds just like my old 80 VW Rabbit - a kick to drive on the rare occasions it wasn't in the shop.

    I agree on tat Freestyle and Freestar. The only reason, despite Ford's protests to the contrary, that they renamed the Windstar the Freestar is that the completely new minivan isn't ready but the Windstar had such a bad reputation it was killing them.

    I forget what Lucerne is in French but I know they call it something else in Canada.

    Nissan has the kind of dumb name moves in their pocket which was dropping te Datsun name. At the time Datsun had the lead in Japanese cars in the US. They were a known quantity. Their cars didn't suddenly go bad but they had to start their reputation all over again. You see the same kind of move now in gasoline with "We're now BP but still sell great Amoco gasoline." Amoco was a trusted name. BP means nothing.
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    "And from the sound of what we consider to be dumb names in this thread, I'm not surprised everyone's starting to use alphanumeric names."

    To me, that's a problem in itself. It was cool when a few European cars did that, but then the Asian companies copied it, and now even the domestics are doing it. :mad:

    Alphanumeric goobledegook is easier to come up with than an evocative name, but a good name makes it easier to implant an image in the public's eye. I doubt the Ford Mustang would be here today if, when it was redesigned in 1979, it was rechristened the MST. ;)
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    Lexus also drives me nuts with their stupid numbering schemes. Who the heck knows what a Lexus GS470C3POR2D2 is?

    Well, just because you are not smart enough to figure it out doesn't mean it's a stupid system.

    Actually, Lexus's numbering scheme is really easy to figure out. The first letter is to distinguish each model, the second letter using the following system:

    'S' stands for sedan. For example, the IS, GS, and LS.
    'X' stands for crossover/SUV. For example, GX, RX, LX.
    'C' stands for coupe such as the SC.

    The 3 numbers represent the engine displacement. For example, IS350 means it's an IS sedan with a 3.5 liter engine and IS250 stands for an IS sedan with 2.5 liter engine.
  • shado4shado4 Posts: 287
    Daewoo Leganza

    'Nuff said. :shades:
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Elantra is a made-up name, and the car is also called the Lantra in some markets. The Accent is the Verna in Korea, and the Getz is the Click. The Terracan (terra-khan) is probably the most absurd name in the Hyundai stable, though the Trajet comes close. Hyundai also called the high-trim Terracans 'Highlander' in some markets, which forced Toyota to rename its Highlander to Kluger.
This discussion has been closed.