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There is a theory that the Japanese prefer to buy cars with names that sound “foreign”. Therefore, many Japanese car producers launch cars with very weird names.

Unfortunately, the marketing managers often do not check the meaning of these terms. This lack of wisdom often leads to funny and sometimes unpleasant results. The following are some examples:

Fiat Uno – In Finland sounds this word like “Uuno“ – which means a dork.

Ford Pinto – Means in South America bandit, dastard, or drunk.

Ford Probe – In Germany, “Probe” means sample, test, trial.. A trial car?!

Lada Nova – This is a not really appropriate name for a car in Spain – „no va“ means not going.

Mazda Laputa – Another weird name for Spanish people. This means the lady of the night.

Mercedes Vaneo – “Vaneo”, in some countries, means toilet paper.

Mitsubishi Dingo – Dingo is an Australian dog. It steals babies out of tents.

Mitsubishi Legnum – Sounds like leg numb.

Mitsubishi Pajero – This term mistake is probably the best known one. In Spain it means pansy, sissy, etc. There it is also used as an abusive word. This car name was changed to Montero in countries speaking Spanish and in the United Kingdom it is known as Shogun.

Rolls-Royce Silver Mist – In Germany, the term “Mist” means rubbish, garbage, muck, etc.

Toyota MR2 – French people have to laugh whilst pronouncing the name of this car. For French it sounds like „merde“ which is not a very nice word!

VW Jetta – In Italy Jetta sounds like „iella“, which means something like a “run of bad luck”…

Other strange names:

  • Daihatsu Naked
  • Honda Life Dunk
  • Isuzu Bighorn

What is to be said about all this?

Dear Marketing Managers, please research the meanings of the translations you would like to apply to cars…  or maybe it’s a ploy to entertain us!



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