Catchword’s Naming Manual – Part 7 of 10

By Laurel Sutton

November 21, 2008

Here’s another excerpt from our handy dandy naming manual – it’s like a car manual, only about naming! We’ll be posting 10 different sections on a weekly basis, so please come back every Friday for more. If you like what you see, please download a copy of your very own, or write to us and we’ll mail you a paper copy (it has a glossy cover!).


CAR NAME THEMES
Of all consumer brand names, car names are perhaps the most recognizable. Online, TV and print advertising make it hard to ignore the most exciting new “rides,” and daily commutes ensure real-life interactions with these brands. Who hasn’t heard of a Camaro? Responsibly considered an Accord? Dreamed of owning a Miata?

So, what are the most common car name “Themes”– i.e, the concepts, messages or constructions used most frequently? For the fun of it, we did a bit of research (actually, a whole lot of research) and provide below the results of our investigation.

Theme: ANIMALS
The quintessential name: MUSTANG

One of the most popular car name themes, Animals convey everything from speed and strength (e.g. Mercury Bobcat, Dodge Ram) to grace and innovative design (e.g. Nissan Gazelle, Volkswagen Beetle). Sure, everyone knows what a Mustang is, what a Cougar is, what a Pinto is. But did you know that Corcel is Spanish for “steed,” that a Thunderbird is actually a mythical bird, that an Impala is a type of antelope, or that a Tamaraw is a small water-buffalo found only in the Philippines?

PREDICTION: with the ever-growing awareness and development of “greener” cars, expect to see fewer fast, strong, predatory animal names, and more intelligent, wise, innovative animal names. The Toyota Dolphin anyone?

Volkswagen Beetle Car looks like a little bug
Chevy Bison A humpbacked, shaggy-haired wild ox
Nissan Bluebird A songbird
Mercury Bobcat A small, North American wild cat
Chevy Bruin A bear, especially in children’s fables
Ford Corcel Means “steed” in Spanish
Mercury Cougar A large wild cat
Ford Falcon A bird of prey
Pontiac Firefly A luminescent beetle
Volkswagen Fox Proverbially cunning animal
Nissan Gazelle A small, slender, horned antelope
Chevy Impala A type of antelope
Chevy Kodiak A bear found on the islands south of Alaska
Nissan Leopard A large wildcat also known as a panther
Mercury Lynx A wild cat; also a northern constellation
Ford Mustang A wild horse, typically small and nimble
Ford Pinto The combination of white and another color on any breed of horse
Ford Puma Another term for cougar
Volkswagen Rabbit Cute, furry little mammals
Dodge Ram A male sheep
Buick Skylark A lark known for its prolonged song during flight
Alfa Romeo Spider The eight-legged arachnid
Pontiac Sunbird A small, brightly colored songbird
Toyota Tamaraw A small water-buffalo found only in the Philippines
Ford Thunderbird Mythical bird
Hyundai Tiburon From the Spanish word for “shark”; also a CA town
Volkswagen Tiguan A coining of tiger and leguan (German for “iguana”)
Dodge Viper A venomous snake
Buick Wildcat A small wild cat noted for its ferocity

Last week: Operation in Foreign Countries
Next week: More Car Name Themes

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