Unlucky Sons: Automobiles with poorly chosen names

These rigs convey ‘misplaced in translation’ to new heights

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We all know that selecting a reputation — whether or not it’s for a automotive, baby, or neighborhood — requires a little bit of forethought. Somebody named Elvis will in all probability have sure expectations hurled at them when stepping as much as the karaoke machine, for instance, whereas cities named Paradise or Shock usually fail to stay as much as their guarantees (in your creator’s expertise, at the least).

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The identical goes for automobiles. The title slapped onto its trunklid in chrome letters or hammered into its tailgate could make or break its fortunes earlier than the factor even pops out of the manufacturing unit. A few of this has to do with optimistic or destructive historical past (equivalent to Corvette and Cavalier, respectively) whereas generally a automotive falls sufferer to occasions it can’t management — such because the that means of its title in different international locations.

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It’s the latter on which we’ll focus on this submit, figuring out machines which might have benefited from only a teensy bit extra analysis earlier than pulling the set off and ordering all these stick-on chrome nameplates from the provider. Did we miss your fave? Have others so as to add to our checklist? You’ll want to drop them within the feedback part.

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Alfa Romeo Tonale

We’ll kick issues off with the impetus for this text — the just lately launched Alfa Romeo Tonale. It’s a slick plug-in hybrid with Italian type to burn however whose title, which is meant to be pronounce ‘toh-nahl-ay’, will certainly be bastardized to ‘toe-nail’ in some circles on this aspect of the pond. If that occurs, it might be part of the VW Touareg and Mercury Mystique (‘tour-egg’ and miss-stick, respectively) within the annals of mispronounced automotive names.

Renault Koleos

This machine was a part of the French carmaker’s lineup of crossover-style automobiles, the kind of which have change into the beyond-dominant physique type within the lineup of nearly each main producer. Allegedly, the title was chosen for a pair of causes: to align with different automobiles within the portfolio whose titles started with ‘Okay’ sounds, and since it’s apparently the Greek price for ‘sheath’. Honest sufficient. However there turned out to be one other pair of causes the title drew snickers from some corners of the web — and that pair will be discovered as a part of a human male’s genitalia. You get the drift.

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Buick LaCrosse

2019 Buick LaCrosse

Again when this American model was nonetheless producing sedans, their largest four-door initially wore the title ‘Attract’ on this nation however was referred to as the ‘LaCrosse’ in different markets. Why? GM entrepreneurs had been involved the time period might have been interpreted by some French-speaking people as a reference to ‘self-love’ — and never the type through which one tells themselves they did a great job at work after a really lengthy day. Buick ended up bringing the title to Canada after some handwringing (pun supposed), prone to streamline advertising prices and save a bit of cash.

Hyundai Kona

Er, this one will take a little bit of inventive writing to keep away from sure phrases being flagged by your browser’s profanity settings. Whereas this Hyundai mannequin title was certainly chosen for its reference to the sunny district on the island of Hawaii, it ended up inflicting a couple of grins in different components of the world. When pronounced ‘cone-ah’, the phrase can be utilized as a vulgar reference to feminine non-public components. You see the issue. But when distress loves firm, Hyundai can take solace understanding that the School of the North Atlantic — domestically referred to as CONA — additionally confronted this drawback when increasing their campus abroad. Their official nomenclature is now CNA.

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Audi e-tron

When the well-known German automaker dubbed certainly one of their snazzy new EVs ‘e-tron’, they certainly had different issues in thoughts. In any case, ‘e’ can evoke pictures of electrical energy, whereas ‘tron’ merely sounds futuristic whereas enjoying on a traditional sci-fi flick. Nonetheless, sure pronunciations of the mannequin title can sound like a phrase utilized in France for fecal matter. Toyota had the identical drawback in that nation after they launched the MR2 many moons in the past, because it may very well be pronounced like ‘merdeux’ which appears like one other French phrase with Quantity Two implications.

Lamborghini Urus

Right here’s an instance of a automobile title which doesn’t technically have any issues — it doesn’t imply one thing vulgar in one other language or something — however somewhat simply sounds odd. Would you hunt down medical consideration in the event you had an itchy urus, for instance? Most likely. Luckily, the 641 horsepower residing beneath the hood of this tremendous SUV are greater than sufficient to quiet any childish feedback about its title.

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Mitsubishi Pajero

Whereas this 4×4 is well-known for having the off-road functionality of a mountain goat, Mitsubishi needed to ditch the Pajero title in some components of the world. Why? Whereas it was drawn from a Latin phrase for a household of cats, varied dialects use a similar-sounding time period as a impolite descriptor and normal insult suggesting egotistical behaviour (and a crude reference to self-gratification). This explains why the Dakar Rally winner is called the Montero is a few markets. Sticking with its authentic title of ‘Shogun’ in all probability might have saved a number of complications.

Studebaker Scotsman

Image: Flickr
Picture: Flickr Photograph by Picture: Flickr

We’ll full our checklist by reaching again into the pages of historical past for a automobile from a long-gone American producer. Within the late 1950’s, Studebaker launched this trim stage for a low-priced collection of automobiles supposed to supply low-priced and fundamental transportation. Priced beneath its Detroit competitors because of the inclusion of cost-cutting options like mounted rear home windows and vacuum-operated wipers. Whereas in style because of affordability, its title was a direct reference to derogatory phrases used to explain frugality.


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