The 10 Stupidest Car Names in the History of the Known World
If you've ever been walking or driving and seen a car drive by and notice its name and wonder how in the world somebody in a room somewhere determined that that was a good name for a car, then this article is for you.
I'm pretty certain that when the automakers come up with a potential car name, they run it through a battery of tests, like they ask groups of people: "would you drive a car with this name?" And if the group answers "yes", then they approve the name. If the group answers "no", then they don't.
Seems like a simple process, yet still, some cars got these names. It's hard to believe.
PRODUCTION YEARS: 2006-Present
This car inspired me to write this article, though I'm aware it's not phenomenally originally, I just couldn't get over what a bad car name this is.
You can sort of see how the car got its name. Some marketing yahoo figured they'd shorten the word "captivate" and that when people spotted the Captiva, it would captivate them. Get it? Well, this must be proof that marketing majors aren't very good with their English because when I see the Captiva, I think about being held hostage, like, "oh crap, I bought I really bad car and now I'm stuck with it because I can't just go back to the dealer and give them the car back and be like, this car sucks, dude."
Anyway, I really hope the Captiva is a good car. Otherwise, it's going to go down in the history books. And if it has some kind of recall due to malfunctioning door locks, watch out.
PRODUCTION YEARS: 1970-78 (U.S.)
In addition to having a terrible name, the AMC Gremlin is considered to be one of the worst cars of all-time. The original idea for the Gremlin was supposedly sketched on an air sickness bag. It debuted in 1970.
It's not exactly clear why AMC (American Motor Company) decided to call the car the Gremlin, but it might have had something to do with its desire to fight the perceived threat posed by Japanese imports. I guess Gremlins were considered suitable fighting monsters. Perhaps the AMC Godzilla would have been a better name.
Generally, Gremlins are considered to be little creatures that cause problems in machinery, among other mischief. Seems like a poor name for a car.
PRODUCTION YEARS: 1971-80
I'm really not a huge fan of the underpowered American cars from the 1970's designed to compete with the influx of Japanese imports. I owned a 4-cylinder Ford Mustang hatchback, which is basically like a big Pinto. Just a terrible car. I drove it up Eisenhower Pass in Colorado and it got up to about 15mph going up that hill. Anyway... aside from the fact that the Ford Pinto was always a running joke because of its tendency to explode when rear-ended (I never laughed so hard as I did the first time seeing the accompanying clip), the Pinto really describes exactly what the car is - a small horse, an undersized, juvenile horse that's not really a full-grown horse yet. Actually, I have no idea what a Pinto really is, but that's what I think it is, and in advertising, perception is reality. Fortunately, if you kick a real Pinto in its rear end, it will not explode.
PRODUCTION YEARS: 2001-Present (worldwide)
I actually own one of these and it's a great little car, but I had no idea that my Honda Fit was originally going to be called the Fitta. Give credit to Honda for researching and realizing their mistake before a wide release as the word "fitta" is a Scandanavian word for the female genitalia. Now, it seems a little silly to me that car companies have to check every language in the world to make sure their car isn't called one thing in English and "monkey butt" in Japanese, but clearly, ending up with your car akin to something like the Honda vagina isn't a good thing. Nobody wants to drive a vagina.
PRODUCTION YEARS: 1993-97 (U.S.)
The Ford Probe is actually a decent looking car, but it does look like a probe. When people get probed, it usually involves getting something stuck up their butts, so calling your car a probe isn't exactly good marketing. In fact, the Probe suggests that naming a car after its appearance is probably just generally a bad idea. Can you imagine a car called the Yugo Small Box or the Cadillac Whale Ship or something like that? I can think of a lot worse.
PRODUCTION YEARS: 1992-2008
Everyone knows what a hummer is, right?
Is it really possible that the folks over at GM didn't?
Or was this perhaps some really genius marketing since the car is marketed toward over-testosteroned males who probably wouldn't object to being identified with their Hummers? It's not like sales of the Hummer weren't good for a certain amount of time. This gas guzzling vehicle sold well. Perhaps the marketing gurus knew that it was a gas guzzler and wanted to name it after another type of guzzler?
PRODUCTION YEARS: 1993-2000
Apparently, people inside Ford referred to this car as the "expire" because of the sound it made trying to climb hills. Woefully underpowered, the name lent itself to easy jokes as a car that aspired to be, among other things: a real car, adequately powered, fun to drive; etc.
PRODUCTION YEARS: 1978-1994 (worldwide)
I owned the Subaru wagon with the same design as the Brat, so I think they called this the Brat because somebody at Subaru got really made and cut the back off my wagon. I guess they were thinking that they really needed some kind of small truck and they didn't want to redesign a whole car so they just cut the back off a wagon and, presto!, instant truck. So I guess that makes the Brat a Subaru wagon with no wagon part, but attitude. It's an extremely odd choice for a car name. Brats aren't nice. Nobody likes them. It doesn't make a lot of sense.
By the way, BRAT stands for Bi-drive Recerational All-Terrain Transporter.
PRODUCTION YEARS: 2002-2011
Not to be too blunt and obnoxious and racist, but I think this is the car you drive if you want to run over black teenagers if you think they might be thinking about trying to mug you. Okay, it's not spelled exactly the same, but this car reminds me of Bernhard Goetz, the New York guy who shot four black teenagers in 1984 after, he claimed, they tried to mug him. Other than that, I'm not exactly sure what Hyundai was trying to accomplish with this name. Was it supposed to be a hip marketing ploy? "This car getz you where you want to go?" or "Go get you a getz!"
PRODUCTION YEARS: 1980-85
Can you imagine if you were a police officer out on patrol and you saw one of these? Wouldn't you pull the driver over just because you could and then say something like: "Well, you bought a Citation. What do you expect?" I suppose you could also say something like: "I pulled you over for having absolutely no taste and no imagination." The Citation wasn't exactly groundbreaking in any respect. Naming it so that potential buyers would be embarrassed about their choice probably wasn't a great marketing decision.
- Top 10 worst car names - AskMen
We look at the top 10 worst car names out there.
- Worst car names ever - MSN Autos
With names such as Hummer, Probe and Edsel, they didn’t stand a chance.
- What's in a name? The good, bad, and confusing history of car names - Autofocus.ca
Great care and thought goes into naming a vehicle—in most cases. There's usually some sort of rationale for selecting a certain word, or combination of words, and the imagery and/or tradition it...
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