When vehicle naming and cultures collide

Despite Forbes Magazine curmudgeon Jerry Flint's opinion on Lincoln's naming strategy, there are reasons why automakers use alphanumeric designations  (i.e., G35; MKZ, etc.) instead of giving vehicles' actual names such as Regal, Pinto, etc.
TechnoRide's editor Bill Howard points to one obvious reason: translations. The Buick Lacrosse is but the most recent example. Assumed to have been named after the sport, the Buick Regal replacement took on an entirely different meaning in Canadian-French slang. Mitsubishi's Pajero also suffered a similar translation problem in Mexico.

Other naming 'oopses' include:
  • AMC Matador. A reminder that cultures that speak the same language don't necessarily use them the same way. To Spanish-speaking Puerto Ricans, 'Matador' means killer.
  • GM's Hummer. No comment.
  • Ford Caliente. Also translates as 'streetwalker'.
  • Toyota Fiera. Also means 'ugly old woman' in Puerto Rico.

Howard also points out that some vehicle nicknames make sense after the vehicle acquires a certain reputation (e.g., the pictured AMC Gremlin and its numerous mechanical problems). Feel free to shout out other naming oddities in Comments.

[Source: TechnoRide]

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