After investing time and money into developing a new vehicle to meet consumer's needs you'd think that coming up with a name would be the easy part. Whether because of mistranslation, cultural misunderstandings or just plain mistakes, these names prove it's not as easy as you'd think. Culled from our automotive knowledge and commenter suggestions these are the worst of the worst. And like great Olympic gymnasts, many of these cars are Asian and less than 16 years old. If you think you can do worse, drop a suggestion in the comments below, and of course, don't forget to vote for what you think is the least appealing.
Known in the US market as the Toyota Previa and in Japan as the Toyota Estima, SOS10 brought to our attention the Lucida G Luxury Joyful Canopy edition of this futuristic van. Any of these modifiers by themselves aren't necessarily ridiculous, but when combined you're reminded of the awesome exuberance the Japanese have for naming their vehicles. [Photo Credit: Tripod]
Consumers are already wary of purchasing a new car, especially from a company that has little name recognition in their market, so giving it a name that translates to "a pretense or fiction that can be seen through readily, or a travesty" is a travesty of its own. We can't be sure this is why the Diahatsu Charade was the last vehicle Diahatsu sold in the US market, but AllBoxedUp is right to suggest it didn't help. [Photo Credit: GreenCarSite]
We had a chance to see the Tang Hua Detroit Fish up close. And while the amphibious Chinese auto was named in honor of its debut at the Detroit Auto Show, the actual concept itself is horrifying. No matter what anyone tells you BLS, do not under any circumstances eat any fish you catch in Detroit. We don't care what Wert says about the Rouge River being clean now.
For most of its life the Pontiac Parisienne was sold in Canada, where people speak French and don't mind driving a car that translates to "French lady from Paris." Unfortunately, for a few years Pontiac thought it would be smart to resurrect the name in the United States for a rebadged Impala with a Caprice nose and a Pontiac grille because customers wanted a RWD car from the brand. Clearly, people who demand RWD sedans also demand to drive the French lady from Paris. [Photo Credit: Picasa]
Though Isuzu no longer sells non-commercial vehicles in the United States, they had a pretty good run with names. This is especially true with their trucks, which had tough names like Trooper and Rodeo. In Japan, they settled for the far more confusing Mysterious Utility Wizard. Ignoring the Wizard part, what is so Mysterious about the Utility? Maybe it's great at attracting parking tickets or getting birds to crash into the window. It should make drivers like Parkington nervous. [Photo Credit: AutoTrader.uk]
In a fit of fantastic Engrish, the folks at Nissan named their small van the Homy. This is comical enough as a version of the American "Homey," made funnier by the slightly perverted addition of "Super Long" to the end of it. But add to it the fact that "m" looks like "rn" and you've got one horny and long van to carry around Joelf and his friends.
Originally called the Standard Six, the Dictator was so named because of the car's ability to dictate the standard for other cars to follow. Unfortunately, this was in the late 1920's when dictatorships were rising around the world and threatening peace. In order to not ruffle any feathers, the Studebaker Dictator was given the name Director in markets that might be sensitive to being seen inside a dictator. We think Jim7 would agree that's a less awesome but more diplomatic name. [Photo Credit: AvrilsCars]
Oh Geely, how we love your comical mistranslations. The Beijing Olympics have shown that China is willing and capable of communicating in a way that the world understands. Those skills have not yet translated to the automotive industry. Geely offers two versions of its pickup truck: Urban Nanny and Rural Nanny. We get Urban Nanny but what exactly is a Rural Nanny? In addition to being a bad name it's almost impossible to say. Try saying it three times fast Tylinol. It's not easy.[Photo Credit: GeelyCar.fr]
Proving that if you want to do something wrong you should to it yourself, we have no mistranslations to blame for the Ford Probe. Meant to conjure up thoughts of the space program, it instead conjured up thoughts of what space aliens might do to mytdawg. Making matters worse, the car itself was enema shaped. Really, no automaker should ever name a vehicle after an invasive medical procedure. Ever. [Photo: Consumer Guide Auto]
While most of these names are bad on their own, the little Mazda Scrum Wagon, like an English casserole, is layer upon layer of terrible. Do we not like it because it sounds like scum? Do we not like it because it's a rugby term? Neither helps, but the good Dr. Danger knows that we can't abide this name because Scrum sounds an awfully lot like a double entendre gone horribly awry. Worse, what's gross in small car-like quantities, is made even more horrifying with the realization it's a whole wagon-load of nasty.