The Name Game
by Peter Nunn
Whenever a new car is planned, there’s always that small but vexing question lurking in the background. Yes, it needs a name but finding a good one sometimes can be easier said than done.
While Japanese names can still be wonderfully inventive and left-field (the Daihatsu Move Latte and Honda Mobilio Spike are two that fit this particular bill pretty well), elsewhere
Car makers are now starting to put more ‘process’ into the creation of names, in some cases the name being structured specifically as part of a new global strategy. Nissan, in fact, has even set up a whole department in
Mazda is another to take this up and after a lot of soul searching replaced its long-serving Familia (323) and Capella (626) models in Japan with the new age Axela (Mazda3) and Atenza (Mazda6). It’s all to do with image creation and brand building and it gets even better if, as with RX-8, you can use just the one name worldwide. This saves a big bundle of time and money.
But the dilemma of whether to stay with an established name continues. Honda is putting its Legend flagship through another full revamp this autumn yet keeping the Legend name.
For Cedric, however, one of Nissan’s most venerable nameplates that dates back to 1960, the end is now nigh. Cedric is set to switch to Fuga as the big Nissan passenger car goes through its 11th generational redesign.
Foreign names also continue to be in vogue. In 2004,
Cryptic names are still hip, too. Honda famously came up with Edix, a cross between edit and six, for a new MPV; the idea here being the six people inside can ‘edit’ their interior environment…
As they say, seeing really is believing…
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