Catchword’s Naming Manual – Part 9 of 10

By Laurel Sutton

December 12, 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!).


YET MORE 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: PLACENAMES
The quintessential name: SANTA FE

Whether a specific reference to a town in Italy (Torino), a state in Mexico (Veracruz), or a term to describe an urban center (Cosmopolitan), Placenames are used to evoke associations with locations, cultures, and mindsets. Want to sound international to an American consumer? Call your car Murano. Want to evoke all things stylish and beautiful? Name it Malibu. Exotic? How about Capri? Sophisticated? What about Versaille? Placenames make for wonderful brand names because they tap into immediate and often universal associations. They utilize existing perceptions to evoke vivid, visceral, and emotive brand identities and experiences.

Makes one wonder why certain placenames have never been adopted. Would the Alaska not be evocative enough? How about the Vienna? And what about our corporate home: SanFran? With all its natural beauty and urban sophistication it’s a wonderful metaphor for a comfortable, stylish vehicle!

Pontiac Acadian
Chevy Biscayne
Volkswagen California
Mercury Capri
Honda City
Chevy Colorado
Chevy Corsica
Lincoln Cosmopolitan
Dodge Dakota
Ford Del Ray
Dodge Durango
Ford Koln
Buick Lucerne
Chevy Malibu
Chevy Metro
Mercury Milan
Chevy Montana
Chevy Monte Carlo
Mercury Montego
Nissan Murano
Buick Riviera
Hyundai Santa Fe
Cadillac Seville
Toyota Tacoma
Chevy Tahoe
Lincoln Versailles

Last week: More Car Name Themes
Next week: Wrapping it All Up – General Maintenance

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