Did you know that car names are chosen by test marketing? It’s why a minivan is called a gentle, quiet name like Town and Country, while a macho truck is called a Ram. Then there are the names leave you wondering just what they were thinking.
Here are ten of the best … leaving out the Japanese, because honestly, we expect them to name their cars things like the Life Dunk and the Naked. American automakers have no excuse. Ah, marketing…isn’t it hilarious?
So, what was the idea behind this? Taking “Dodge” as a verb and applying it to something you’d do if you were a spy or a crappy embassy director? Or did somebody look at this and think it was a diplomat’s car?
It would be one thing if they chose this name in a more innocent time. But they didn’t. The Ford Probe was introduced right when The X-Files and alien abductions were at their hottest, so pop culture was all about getting molested by aliens. And they still named it the Probe.
We know from personal experience that there’s a lot that you can do in a Mercury, but this is not a vehicle one “marauds” in. It’s more of a vehicle you “parade” in or “run errands” in. Just naming something as if it were edgy isn’t going to make it edgy…especially not with design like that.
Yes, it was the ’50s, and ’50s advertising is, inevitably, weird. Advertisers didn’t have the strong grasp of psychology that they do today. In the ’50s they tried to sell sports shirts by having the models wear eye patches. We’re assuming the name “Lido” came from the same general attitude of “If it’s weird, they have to pay attention.”
Chrysler, as we’ll see later, had an affection for naming their cars as rough, tough and manly — even when the appellation was a little less than appropriate. That makes the naming of this little hatchback all the weirder. It’s like a Chrysler executive’s mom got to name the car.
What, did Chevy already have a car named “Speeding Ticket?” Did the Chevrolet “Let Off with A Warning” just not do well with focus groups? Did they just get pulled over a lot with these things?
Here’s another strange one for you. The Solstice was a well-received sports car, but the name baffled everybody. Usually the only people talking about the “solstice” are Wiccans and Morris dancers, and they don’t like cars unless they’re powered by unicorns. Maybe Pontiac saw them as a possible sports car market?
We get it, Chrysler, you had suburban dads to sell to, so you had to pick rough, macho names. But, the Avenger? We don’t trust anybody driving this to avenge anything, unless it’s an unjust bake sale. Maybe you should have called THIS one the Sunbeam.
We get the idea behind calling it an “enclave”: it’s supposed to be serene. But, we do have to wonder why Buick named a car after an object that isn’t really noted for moving or going anywhere.
We get the intent of naming it “Scrambler,” but, really, you should never name your car anything that can be mistaken as a diner order or a puzzle used to distract small children. Did the Jeep Scrambler come with home fries, toast, and coffee?
Look, Dodge, taking a car you’d already named the Dodge Dart and trying to make it sound remotely tough by adding a hardtop and a tough name just isn’t going to work. That’s especially true when the name in question evokes images of eternal damnation. Who wants to get behind a Demon?