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Talking Sustainability and Transportation

Monthly Poll: Does the model name of a vehicle influence your decision to buy it?

Choosing a car

They say that you should name your children or pets something that you wouldn’t be embarrassed yelling across a playground over and over. But does the same principle apply to your car? Sure, you might not be calling out your car’s name on a daily basis, but if someone asks about your new ride, will you cringe when you reveal that it’s a Saab Quasimodo (a name I just made up)?

Naming cars can be a minefield for auto manufacturers – car names can be sexy and dangerous, like the Shelby “Cobra” or the Rolls-Royce “Phantom”. Or they can be bemusing, like the Studebaker “Dictator” or the Geely “Beauty Leopard”. Plus, different names mean different things in different languages, as the makers of the Mazda “LaPuta” found out when they released the car in Spain.

Some car manufacturers eschew evocative names for more practical, informative names, as outlined in this hilarious post on Jalopnik about The Twenty Most Informatively Named Cars of All Time. Here’s a sample:

"Car Name: Toyota “Truck” Car description: It's a truck made by Toyota."

A lot of car manufacturers are switching to an alpha-numeric system (like the Infiniti “FX35”, for example), both to avoid language barriers and to make every car sound like a souped-up sports car. I get what they’re going for but can the “QZ34234oi12” spark your imagination the way the “Sunfire” can? Alpha numeric model names might be safer but they’re not going to sear themselves into the public consciousness, like a Mustang or a Beetle.

Over to you, drivers! Do you think the name of the car you drive says something about you as a driver? Would a cool car name sway your purchasing decision? Would a bizarre car name kill your interest in a car? Take our poll below!

Bonus for the car name-curious: If you’re interested in the origin of car brand and model names, check out this great Mental Floss video called 32 Car Name Meanings. Turns out that “Volvo” is Latin for “I roll.” Who knew?

What’s the model name of your current vehicle? Did it have any impact on your decision to buy that car? Let us know in the comments.

- Rose R.


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