Naming cars has been something of a dicey proposition for automakers. The marketers live in fear of a negative image, and if a car has a crummy name, it's already started out on bad footing that may be hard to overcome. Like Mitsubishi's Pajero, which in some Spanish countries is slang for masturbator. What??? Or perhaps Ford's Probe. Gonna head up the ol' fudge canal with that thing, are ya sport?
Chevy's Camaro originally was touted as a small, vicious Mustang eating animal, but some Ford folks supposedly found a Spanish translation that says it meant a small, shrimp like creature. I think the sales figures of the Camaro have bothered those Ford folks much worse than some tiny seafood. And the Pinto supposedly meant "penis" in the Portuguese slang of Brazil. One must admit it was the fabulous engineering behind it and it's competitor Chevrolet's Vega that earned it's bad rep. I guess at least the Vega was named after an established astronomical artifact.
And some of the General's newer offerings kinda sorta make sense. A Traverse? You, too can traverse the incredible distance from your house to the mall. The Volt? Apropos for an electric car. A Spark? Just the thing to light up the arse end of your slacker teenager. Howza about the Cruze? Same teenager burning up your money on your gas card, Dad.
Ford's fresh offspring? Escape and Edge? Escape from the Edge, dude! Driving a Focus will make you concentrate more - on what I'm not sure. And Fusion. I think they were leaning towards the techie side - like wow, dude, that's like nucular fusion, yannow. I don't think they were wanting to remind one of fusion in foodie circles - "Yes, this car represents the fusion between Nordic and Hunan style cooking - we present General Tso's Lutefisk!" Yeah, probably not.
The manufacturer that has my shaking my head is VW. Some make sense - the venerable Beetle, the Golf, and even the Jetta has a speedy sort of name. But Routan? Sounds like a bad 1960s Japanese monster movie. Routan vs Mothra. Coming to a late nite monster fest on your favorite channel.
I do not relate to the Toureg. I am German (and Irish, too), and the only thing that name signals to me is a mashup of Touring and Keg. Perhaps that is the car that one uses to tour Oktoberfest in Germany and tap all those kegs. The hose washable interior is particularly useful in that regard, and the breathalyzer enclosed in the steering wheel insures that you will not be spending an inordinate amount of time in der klink. Probably not gonna wanna bring little Susy and Bobby along for the trip. All those busty Frauleins might give the kiddos the wrong idea about how Daddy feels about Mommy.
And worst of all is the Tiguan. What in the wide wide world of sports is a Tiguan? I tell you this, I do not see the rugged Sam Elliot, all decked out in cattle drivin' gear and wearing a pair of Colt's finest, step up to the bar and announce "I drive a Tiguan. Anyone object???"
Sorry, don't see that at all. Tiny Iguana is more like it. Something I'd clean from my boot heel in Central America. "Yeah, Tom, you wanna shake out your drawers in the morning for sure. Nuttin' like puttin' on yer tighty whiteys and getting one of them thar Tiguans all excited. They and yer family jewels just don't mix, son." I can hear ol' Sam say that.
So what car names drive you nuts????