You probably know that a good car is hard to find right now. But it seems that finding a good car name has always been difficult.
This became the subject of my interest when a story about the name of the worst car was published by the American Automobile Association (“AAA”). I came to the article predicting. I guess I’m going to read a bunch of tired old stories with already known brand names. AAA Opportunity to Teach Me – Me! – Was stupid about the brand name.
Of course, I was wrong. They dig up some pretty vague and very interesting information. They listed the names of these brands (in alphabetical order):
Deliboy (by Toyota, probably their delivery van shrinks the market a bit)
My friend (Nissan)
LeCar (by Renault)
Lefebvre (guess who …?)
Mysterious Utility Wizard (Isuzu)
Pro Seed (by Kia)
It (by Honda, who explicitly believed that the more formal “it” simply lacked Jing)
When I first went to the AAA article, I expected to read the names of all the bad cars “left on the side of the road,” “as part of the scramble,” or “names that just didn’t get traction.” Instead, I’ve seen names that could be marketing missteps, but usually not legal.
Okay, so LeCar and LeFerrari are easy targets.
Not listed above but nevertheless significant – naming a car “dictator” at the beginning of World War II? Maybe wrong. (That was Studebaker, however.)
But the interesting thing about these other brand names is that most of them were trademark lawyer dreams. Not too descriptive, not too general. The list goes on to name a few that are legally winning. If you want a name you can build a really strong brand – fast – you will do well with the rest.
These are names that are unusual in the world of automobile model names. They do not describe the product. These features make it easier to register symbols, less likely to go to similar symbols for similar or related products, and generally easier to secure.
We know all these models have failed. With every failure, it is easy to associate an unimaginable product with a terrible name to mark. In a real sense, that “criminal” name is associated with the folklore of a brand that didn’t make it, and in some cases never really prayed. Bad product name tarnished. There is no underlying reason that “Brat” cannot be “Silverrado” or “Ram”. Or, in that regard, the ever-stimulating trademark for Ford’s best settling product: the “F-150.” A flashy name, it’s not. I am not suggesting that this list of names from the product cemetery was brilliant for automobiles. But if the cars were successful, the names would also become iconic.
Is the name of a well used car less than a well used car? In the case of this “worst” name, maybe not. Of course, at the moment, you can probably call a well-conditioned, pre-owned car a “Rosebud” and it will sell faster and better than its predecessor.