The Studebaker Dictator was in production for 10 years in the lead up to the Second World War. The title was eventually scrapped in 1937 because of its association to Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler.
Cars can be named after animals, places or sometimes are a combination of letters and numbers.
A good car name can entice buyers, a bad one can leave them confused and occasionally impact sales.
Here are 10 of the strangest and most unusual monikers car companies have attached to four-wheels.
Nissan’s next generation Leaf.
Of course a car named Leaf has to be eco-friendly! The Nissan Leaf was the world‘s best-selling electric car for 2013 and 2014, it also won several awards including the 2011 European Car of the Year. The name though, won’t be winning any awards for originality. According to Nissan it was because that just like real leaves, their car would help purify the air by eliminating emissions.
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It might surprise you but there are actually a fair few cars named after food and beverages.
There is the Hot Dog, the Cherry and the Cappuccino. In the late 1980s Suzuki was keen to create a sports car or at least one that looked like a sports car and so the Cappuccino was born. Although it was built to meet the criteria of a Kei car after its success in Japan, Suzuki exported the Cappuccino to the United Kingdom and Australia.
The Probe is possibly one of the more famous badly named cars and was in production from 1989 to 1997. It was intended to take over from the Ford Mustang in North America and the Ford Capri in Europe but with a name like Probe it was already facing an uphill battle. In Europe apparently buyers thought it sounded too racy while it reminded Americans of aliens and their probes.
Suzuki Maruti DZire
The name isn’t that strange, although perhaps misplaced, but the spelling certainly is. First released in 2008, solely to the Indian marketplace, the DZire is modelled after a Swift hatchback. Since then the DZire has gone on to become one of the most popular sub-compact vehicles in the sub-continent, so perhaps a name doesn’t really matter.
Mitsubishi Mirage Dingo
Unlike some of the other cars, this one’s name actually has some type of reasoning behind it. Dingo comes from the word Bingo (which the Japanese apparently associate with good luck) and the diamond logo of Mitsubishi is where the letter D comes from. Even still, it is hard to forgive the fact it shares its name with an animal most famous for stealing and eating a baby, at least in Australia.
Kia Pro_cee’d GT
Kia was certainly thinking outside of the box when they came up with this one. The Kia Pro_cee’d GT is an English teacher’s nightmare, what’s with the underscore and stray apostrophe?! Maybe they thought that the Kia Proceed GT looked a little too plain. There is some method to their madness though. The Cee’d series was going to be Kia’s first European designed and built car, so to honour the occasion Kia wanted to incorporate the initials from the European Community into the car name somehow.
Another car named after something edible! The three-door hatchback was released in late 1999 to local government authorities in Japan to help combat emissions. The 700kg vehicle used an estimated 3.3-litres per 100km which made it exceptionally fuel efficient. Even though only 50 were sold in either yellow or green, the Pistachio has somewhat of a cult following today in Japan.
The Daihatsu Midget is a small vehicle, so it’s understandable why the Japanese car makers opted for a name that complemented its size. The name might not have been so peculiar when it was first produced in the late 1950s, and it was actually an auto rickshaw before it was revamped in 1996. Like most Japanese Kei cars, the Midget was lightweight and had a 660cc engine.
Peugeot Bipper Tepee
This one is pretty confusing. The Bipper Tepee is known for being spacious and having ample headroom so maybe that’s where the word Tepee comes from. Bipper on the other hand sounds like a slang word only hipsters know the story behind.
In the mid 1920s in the United States, dictators weren’t something the public really worried a lot about so the name didn’t immediately cause controversy. In Europe however, some were all too familiar with dictatorships so the car was marketed as the Director. That was until the rise of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s which forced Studebaker to name the car The Commander instead.
Have we missed your favourite bad name? Can you think of any worse than these? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
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