(What’s that? It’s pompous and narcissistic for a blog post to have a foreword? Oh. Well, it’s too late now.)
Before you say anything, shut up. I know this isn’t directly backpacking related. Well, I originally wrote this article for a client at work, but they didn’t feel comfortable publishing it, which, once you’ve read it, may seem reasonable. So I’ve claimed it back and put in all the obscenities that I originally wanted. Plus, it does mention a lot of countries, so it’s cultural. Look, just stop whining and read the damn thing.
Car manufacturers are a peculiar bunch. After spending thousands of hours and millions of pounds on developing a gleaming new car, lovingly polished and refined with fanatical precision and painstaking attention to detail, what in the name of all that is holy could possess a company to name their car the “Honker”? (Looking at you, Daewoo)
Fortunately for us, this keeps happening again and again, as marketing teams excitedly come up with names for cars that probably sounded great and dynamic after a couple of beers on a Friday lunch time, but in the sober light of Monday morning are hilariously dreadful. I’m proud to present to you the most ill thought out, bumbling, and just downright offensive car names out there.
1. Mitsubishi Lettuce
What’s that tearing down the highway in the distance? Kicking up dust clouds behind it, engine roaring, it’s… it’s… it’s the Mitsubishi Lettuce. While the name doesn’t exactly conjure up images of automotive power (or anything at all beyond leafy vegetables), it could have been worse. Let’s just hope there’s no Mitsubishi Cabbage in the works.
2. Volkswagen Sharan
Perhaps ‘Sharan’ sounds exotic to European ears, with its vaguely Persian sound conjuring up images of exotic locations. In old Blighty, however, no matter how Volkswagen tell us to pronounce it, it still just sounds like Sharon, the gruff dinner lady from your old high school.
3. Diahatsu Charade
- N. An absurd pretence intended to create a pleasant or respectable appearance.
What is Diahatsu hiding from us?!
Perhaps the charade is pretending it doesn’t look like Roy Cropper’s handbag on wheels.
4. Volkswagen Thing
You can imagine the VW execs, all clipboards and white coats, putting the final weld on their new vehicle, then stepping back in horror as the engine roars into life and lightning cracks the sky.
“What have we done?”
5. Honda That’s
The grammatical nightmare that is the That’s was presumably (hopefully) born from a typo or translation error by Honda. The half-sentence is as baffling as it is difficult to mention in conversation. Honda That’s what? Perhaps Honda’s next offering will be called A Shame.
7. Studebaker Dictator
Dictator. Hmm. The mental image it conjures is less of smiling parents strapping the kids in for the school run, and more of a scowling black clad maniac signing a million death warrants with one single flourish of a pen. Studebaker apparently intended the name to imply the car was dictating the standards for motoring, or something. However, the manufacturer had to change the name to ‘Director’ in countries where the idea of whizzing around in a car named after a tyrannical despot was a little close to home. Like Germany.
8. Isuzu Mysterious Utility Wizard
Isuzu, we have some questions for you. Why is this car mysterious? Are its utilities a secret? Why is it magical? Is it made by wizards, or for wizards? Do you know something we don’t Isuzu?
9. Geely Rural Nanny
Not exactly the kind of car you want to show up to a date in, the Rural Nanny also had a city-focussed sibling, the Urban Nanny. The former sounds like a relative you really hate visiting, and the latter sounds like a Britain’s Got Talent grandma rap act.
10. Mazda Titan Dump
Fucking hell, Mazda. How on earth nobody in the whole marketing department raised an eyebrow at their vehicle being named after a gargantuan shit is beyond me.
11. Honda Jazz
Jazz itself is fine, but the car’s original title, Fitta, was scrapped after hapless marketers discovered that it does in fact mean cunt in Swedish.
12. Mazda Laputa
Mazda again? Now I’m starting to think they’re doing it on purpose. The car is (apparently) named after Laputa, the flying island in Gulliver’s Travels. Over in Spain however, the name translates to mean ‘the whore’. We know manufacturers have employed some interesting branding tactics over the years, but surely naming your hatchback after a prostitute isn’t the brightest idea.
13. Mazda Scrum Wagon
Oh Christ, Mazda. Scrum Wagon? Really? First of all, adding ‘wagon’ to the end of anything instantly makes it sound shit. Second, a scrum is a writhing and grunting mass of hairy rugby players, and therefore not the best word to associate with your new van. Third, at a glance it looks like ‘Scum Wagon’. Finally, ‘Scrum Wagon’ sounds like a XXX video tape found at the bottom of your uncles gym bag.
That concludes my list of the best of the worst car names, and a pattern seems to have emerged. I can only conclude that over in Japan, the head honchos at Mazda are gathered in the board room, huddled round a dog eared English dictionary, giggling and pointing at rude words and throwing them in random combinations.
Expect the Mazda Fleshlight to arrive in the UK next year.