On Monday, Kia teased its first all-electric model and gave us the nomenclature that will be used for all upcoming battery-driven products. While perhaps not as creative as giving its cars real names, as one would with anything they truly loved, the Korean-based automaker has settled upon the tried-and-true method of giving its units alphanumeric designations with the EV prefix.
It’s similar to the naming strategies employed by other manufacturers, many of which originally envisioned battery electric vehicles as part of their own brand, with Kia having the presumed advantage of using the two letters most synonymous with electrification.
In the cinematic classic National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1, screen legend Kathy Ireland’s character is asked, under intense police questioning, whether she knows the traitorous General Mortars.
“Well, I drive a Buick,” she responds.
See? This proves the name General Motors confuses people. All the more reason to throw out that dusty moniker and write a new script.
The coming year is expected to be the first of many for a new group created through the imminent merger of Fiat Chrysler and France’s PSA Group. As the process to blend the two automakers continues, the two partners have revealed what their combined operation will be called.
The decision to saddle the first all-electric Cadillac model with a name like “Lyriq” was made all the more eyebrow-raising when the second-in-line EV Caddy’s name cropped up: Celestiq. Stop it already! What’s going on here, many asked. While eager for a break from the de Nysschen days of alphanumeric gobbledygook, some were not ready for this particular naming convention.
So what’s the deal here? Cadillac explains.
A rumor that began spreading last year seems to be borne out. Those whispers, which grew in volume after company executives failed to downplay the suggestion, hinted that Kia’s midsize Optima could see a name change for the 2021 model year.
Following its Hyundai Sonata sibling by a year, the radically redesigned midsizer could be the automaker’s last attempt to woo the American public and solidify its standing in the shrinking segment. At this point in the game, will a name change help at all? Maybe the better question is: would it hurt?
Emotional response. That’s the end goal of marketing — well, the second-to-end goal, and words and images are what a savvy marketing pro uses to plant that seed in the human brain. Rapidly germinating, the seed quickly grows into a desire to consume. To own. To bolster one’s identity with a product that says something about them, and which makes them feel good in a strange, hard-to-define way.
We’ve all been lured in by slick advertising, product placements, and the like, but products don’t always need a third-party ad agency to boost their image. The manufacturer gets first crack at that.
Which is where naming come in.
“Famous flicks, Mr. Connery,” the fake Alex Trebek once said to the fake Scottish actor on SNL. The unspoken word in that long-ago sketch isn’t something you’d encourage your young kids to say, but it did help the career of many beloved stand-up comics.
Which brings us, oddly, to Subaru. The (predominantly) all-wheel-drive brand has crafted a very wholesome image of itself over the years, delighting children and seniors alike with its heavy use of canine actors in its ads. But there’s nothing wholesome about a vehicle that appeared this week at the Singapore Motor Show: the Forester Ultimate Customized Kit Special edition.
FUCKS, for short.
Cadillac may be embarking on a nail-biting journey with its electrification plan, but its naming strategy could prove considerably less rocky. Or not. Announced Thursday in Detroit, the premium brand’s evolution to emissions-free status will coincide with a return of actual model names for new vehicles — a move many Cadillac watchers have long hoped for.
Yes, the alphabet soup that comprised all but one member of the Caddy clan will fall by the wayside, replaced by real words. Names that mean something, that stimulate emotion. Ford thought it necessary. Can you guess what we’re going to ask today?
Maybe Corey was right. Despite sharing no architectural or mechanical DNA with the world’s first pony car, it seems Ford’s upcoming electric crossover — a vehicle Ford delights in calling “ Mustang-inspired” — will actually bear the Mustang name.
This isn’t some wild rumor, either. It comes straight from the Glass House. A four-door electric crossover will soon be the “newest member of the Mustang family.”
What fresh hell is this, you might mutter after hearing what Cadillac’s up to. Not only does General Motors’ luxury division plan to maintain its alphanumeric naming convention on future models, it also plans to add additional badging for the 2020 model year. The badges are numbers, designed to give both the owner and passer-by a sense of what’s under the hood.
No, it isn’t a return to prominently displayed cubic-inch engine displacements. It’s a torque figure.
Someone at General Motors has been studying the company history books again. Fresh news earlier this year taught us the company is bringing back the storied Blazer nameplate, appending it to a FWD-based crossover in a move that disappointed some fans but will surely delight GM beancounters as they’ll probably sell every one they can make to a crossover-thirsty public, the majority of whom care not one whit about the old body-on-frame machine.
A trademark application uncovered by a GM Inside News forum poster suggests GM could be poised to bring back another well-known badge. This time, it is GMC’s turn to plumb their collective memory for a popular name. The lead image above gives you all the clues you need as to which one it may be.
Despite long, grinding years of adulthood, the word “synergy” still reminds this author of the character on the excruciatingly 1980s cartoon Jem and the Holograms, which his older sister would commandeer the TV set for on various mornings. To Toyota, the word is the centerpiece of Hybrid Synergy Drive — the name applied to its hybrid drivetrains since the dawn of the gas-electric era.
Times change and, just as hoop earrings are no longer rad, the word “hybrid” has evolved to mean any one of a confusingly long list of gas-electric propulsion systems. Studies show that a great many consumers are still mystified about hybrids.
Hybrid Synergy Drive needs a makeover.
It was generally believed that Hyundai didn’t just wake up one morning and run off to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to secure rights to the Palisade model name for no good reason. The trademark filing came up last April, leading observers to rightfully believe that this large, imposing moniker was set aside for use on a large, imposing vehicle — such as the replacement for the current Santa Fe XL, which Hyundai assured us would appear with a standalone name. No more of this “Santa Fe/Santa Fe Sport” crap.
Sure enough, Palisade it is, but the Korean automaker, long known for value-packed automobiles, didn’t throw a dart at a map of the continental U.S. and land on a small town in Colorado. No, no — Hyundai’s all about the coastal life now. Gwyneth Paltrow and Elon Musk are coming over for tennis.
Well, it’s not ending up on a sedan, that’s for sure. A Canadian trademark filing shows Ford Motor Company wants to emblazon the word Adrenaline on an upcoming model, and the automaker’s insistence that traditional passenger cars aren’t worth bothering with points to a future use on something rugged in nature.
Either the name’s bound for the rear liftgate of the so-called Baby Bronco, or Ford caved to the wishes of hard-core purists who don’t want the Mach 1 name anywhere near an electric crossover.
We’re playing a name game today, and as luck would have it, there’s no wrong answer to this question. As we’ve told you before, Ram has a midsize model on the way, ready to (eventually) do battle with Chevrolet’s Colorado and Toyota’s Tacoma and Ford’s long-awaited-but-not-really-new Ranger. Yes, there’s other midsizers to contend with, too.
Plenty of mystery still surrounding this vehicle, but it’ll apparently appear in roughly two years’ time, suppliers say, and it’ll sport a frame, not a platform. What it doesn’t have right now is a name, or at least one that Fiat Chrysler’s willing to reveal. That’s where you come in.
Just a word of warning about one potential name, though…
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- The Oracle Good news is that based on the model years many of these have already been junked or experienced terminal engine failure.
- Lou_BC I'm confused, isn't a Prologue a preview? This would be a preview of a preview.
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