RAC Cars News


What's In A Name?

By raccars Published

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Reactions to Vauxhall's revival of the Viva name have been mixed - on the one hand the familiarity could make marketing the product easier, but critics claim that 'Viva' was never a particularly inspired choice in the first place. Eyebrows were further raised, however, by the news that the European version of the new Viva city car, under the Opel badge, will be called Karl... Yes, that's right, Karl. Apparently, this goes with the existing Adam model, Adam Opel being the name of the company's founder and Karl the name of his son.

However, things could be worse and Vauxhall is by no means the first manufacturer to run out of inspiration when looking for a name.

Toyota Deliboy

Presumably aimed at vendors of fine cold meats and cheese rather than dodgy Peckham council estate residents.

Mitsubishi Minica Lettuce

The Lettuce was a version of the Minica city car with two doors on one side and one on the other. Why it was named after rabbit food is still unknown.

Mitsubishi Minica Winky

Even better - or worse, depending upon your sense of humour - was Mitsubishi's choice of the word 'Winky' for its 1985 micro car. Something clearly got lost in translation...

Daihatsu Applause

Not just uninspired but frankly misleading, as there was very little to applaud about this staid and boring Nineties family car which, in a desperate and misguided attempt to make it appear more interesting, the Japanese firm created as a hatchback which looked like a saloon.

Kia Provo

A name that could work very well back home in Korea but comes with unfortunate associations for British and Northern Irish residents, for whom the word Provo is an abbreviation of Provisional IRA. Kia claimed its intention with this concept car was not to cause offence and that the name was derived from the notion 'to provoke a reaction'.

Isuzu Mysterious Utility Wizard

Could the Japanese firm have co-opted Frank Zappa, a well known creator of unusual monikers, into helping it name its version of the Vauxhall Frontera in the Nineties? Fortunately, the abbreviation, MU, became commonplace.

Toyota Chaser Avante Lordly

This self regarding 1998 saloon was never sold in the UK, where customers would not have been able to stop sniggering at the name long enough to actually drive it off the forecourt.

Gaylord Gladiator

A car for a more innocent time - 1956 in fact. The luxurious convertible was never actually produced, the concept of irony perhaps making an early appearance.

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