VW Either Has Some Anagram Fetishist Making Up Names Or They Just Love Confusion

Illustration for article titled VW Either Has Some Anagram Fetishist Making Up Names Or They Just Love Confusion
Illustration: Jason Torchinsky/VW

I haven’t really understood how Volkswagen names cars since the air-cooled era. It used to be easy: Types 1, 2, 3, or 4, and they got names that fit how the cars looked: Beetle, Squareback, Fastback, Microbus, hell, even Thing. Then in the water-cooled era they got into wind-based names like Scirocco and Passat, even though it seems the Golf was named for a horse. Sometimes sports stuff, like Polo or Gol (“goal” in Portuguese). But recently, I have no idea what they’re doing, unless the goal is just to make everyone confused. To illustrate this, let’s consider two VW small SUVs, the Tiguan and the Taigun.


Why, exactly, would this company decide to name two very similar-looking cars names that could be typos of one another? And sound a hell of a lot alike? I have no idea.

The Tiguan small SUV most of us are familiar with, though you may not be familiar with how it got its name, which is an unholy breeding of the words “tiger” and “leguan,” the German word for iguana.


It’s a made-up chimera of a name, which suggests that VW is more than happy to just make names up, which you would think would be all the more reason why they shouldn’t feel like they have to name cars with the same six letters as one of their other cars.

The Taigun is a new small SUV set to come out in the 2021 model year in South American, Indian, and other markets. It’s set to be slotted in just below the Tiguan, replacing cars like the CrossFox. So, it seems that it is planned to co-exist with the Tiguan, which just seems to me like a recipe for needless, frustrating confusion.

The closest I can find to a meaning for Taigun is Japanese for a large herd or crowd. Is...is that what they wanted?

Did VW not want to pay to have new letters cast for the badges? Is that why they’re using a name that’s an anagram of another model? They want to maximize the use of all those bins of chrome Ts, As, Is, Us, Ns, and Gs?


Even if that is, improbably, the reason, couldn’t they have picked an anagram that sounded and looked a bit less similar? And they don’t have to use all six letters, right?

What’s wrong with a VW Giant or Gnat or Gaunt or Tangi? Maybe a Gain or VW Tuna, or even an Aunt? How about a VW Unit? That’s hip now! A Ting? Tang? Nuit?


Tiguan. Taigun. Taigun. Tiguan. Jeezis, why are you doing this, Volkswagen? Why?

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1973 Reliant Scimitar, 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!)

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moistened bint

Also in the VW product pipeline

Nugait - shaped like a candy bar

Guanit - will be a real POS

Anguit - for your angsty teen

Gaitun - huge happy car for going to Fire Island

Untiga - a real dog

Antiga - only comes in black. Soup can hurler optional