From a marketing perspective, the right name is far more important for a vehicle than its features, performance specs, or even design. A well-thought out and convincing name gives the customers an image of strength, value, quality, and prestige and guarantees strong sales and popularity. However, almost all strong and cool-sounding names are already taken, and manufacturers struggle to find new ones. Often, they make a mistake and name a car with a name that is clearly unsuitable. Here are five of the worst examples.
Ford Mustang Mach E
One of the most recent examples of controversial naming is the Mustang Mach E. Several weeks ago; Ford stunned the car world with the introduction of the fully electric Mustang Mach E SUV model. Mustang purists, and most of the car world immediately protested and raised their voices in disagreement with Ford’s naming of the model. Simple, common automotive norms dictate that the Mustang should be a fire-breathing, two-door, V8-powered muscle car. However, the Mustang Mach E is a fully electric, five-door SUV with optional all-wheel-drive and electric motors.
Do you see the problem? Although the Mach E is a well-designed and quite capable EV, it is no muscle car. Ford have risked devaluing the Mustang’s muscle car name for the chance of winning over a handful of electric vehicle nerds looking to tell their neighbors that they drive a Mustang.
While the majority of the free world has been concentrated on fighting the notorious ISIS terrorist group which operates in the Middle East, somebody in the Toyota marketing department decided to call their MPV precisely the same name. The Toyota ISIS was introduced in 2004 and sold until 2017 in the Japanese market. It was a compact van with sliding doors – a popular body style in Japan. However, the controversy surrounding this model goes beyond its name. During the fight against ISIS, it was noticed that guerrilla fighter’s drove around in brand new Toyota vehicles. Upon further investigation it was found that the company had unintentionally sold the terrorists many Land Cruiser and Hilux trucks. When this became public, pressure from the public became too much, and the company dropped the ISIS model.
Do you remember the Yugo? It was mooted to be as big a seller as the Volkswagen Beetle or Ford Model T but it never quite happened. The Yugo was an economical compact car sold in America in the late `80s made by Yugoslavian company Yugo. Sales numbers were fairly healthy at first until buyers found issues with build quality. Crvena Zastava, the Yugo`s parent company, which ironically translates as “Red flag”, decided to push on though and released the Yugo Florida in 1987.
Unfortunately, it was not much better than the original Yugo and had no resemblance to its pretentious name – Florida. It was neither a sporty convertible nor laid back cruiser which would be more fitting and to top it all off it wasn’t even sold in America!
Hyundai today is one of the leading car companies in the world. However, back in the `80s, it was an obscure Korean brand with diminutive cars, simple designs, and small engines that had just started exporting to America. One of the first cars ever to be sold outside Korea was the Hyundai Excel. This was a small economy model with a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with a measly 68 horsepower. Hyundai named this model the Excel. Even today, it is unknown why. To excel at something means “to be exceptionally good at or proficient in an activity or subject” or “to perform exceptionally well,”. However, the Hyundai Excel did not live up to any of those descriptions. It was a boring economy car without any performance or style, and the cheapest new car you could buy in America in the late `80s.
Porsche Taycan Turbo
The last car on our list is another modern and prestigious EV with a controversial name. Porsche recently released the Taycan, its first fully electric model, and so far, nobody has highlighted a problem with this name. However, the performance version is called the Taycan Turbo, and the internet has gone crazy over that name. We must admit, Porsche purists have great reason to be upset since the Turbo name has always been reserved for the fastest road-legal and petrol-powered models equipped with a turbocharger. The Taycan Turbo is of course a fully electric car, which means it is impossible to have a turbocharger. Still, Porsche`s marketing team decided to stick with the name despite the ongoing protests from car enthusiasts.