A list of cars whose names sound ambiguous or cause contradictory associations from country to country has been compiled.
Depending on the calculation method, there are more than 5 thousand languages in the world today. When there are so many words, it is not surprising that there are words with the same pronunciation, but completely different meanings. And when they are used in car names, things get even worse.
The famous Japanese SUV, the production of which ceased last year. Its name is derived from the name of a wild cat that lives in South America. But if in English the meaning of the word Pajero is one, then in Spanish it is another. In abusive slang, this word means obscenity, and also has the following associations: “liar” and “lazy”. That is why Mitsubishi decided to sell Pajero in Spanish-speaking countries under the name Montero, which means “hunter”.
The original name of this model is Fitta. It became one of the most striking punctures of the Japanese. At the very last moment, they realized that in the Scandinavian languages the word “Fitta” means female genitals. This made it very difficult to sell the subcompact in Europe and Honda quickly replaced its name with Jazz.
Toyota Opa and Toyota Vitz
The names for these two models were clearly invented by people who know nothing about marketing. It turned out that in German the word “Opa” means “grandfather”, and “Witze” – “anecdote”. Well, just wonderful names for youth models, aren’t they?
The South Korean crossover Kona is an “SUV”, the name of which comes from the Hawaiian geographical name. It would seem that what could go wrong. Unfortunately, the word “Kona” has unfortunate sound and semantic meanings when translated into other languages. For example, in Polish, the name of the Korean SUV means “I’m dying of pain”, and in Portuguese, it is a synonym for a rough term for a part of the female anatomy.
The Italian automaker is known for giving its models names related to bullfighting (a common form of bullfighting). And Reventon was no exception. However, in Spain, the word “Reventon” means “puncture” or “blowing out”, which is not an ideal name for a powerful supercar.
The car was named in honor of the cougar, a predator of the puma genus of the feline family. That’s just the name that seemed quite successful in the Slovenian language meaning “plague”. For this reason, there are rumors that Kuga’s sales figures in regions such as Slovakia and Croatia are very lame.
Named after the jet stream, Jetta was supposed to become synonymous with speed, but when it came to Italy, where the consonant word «ietta» meant “successive losses” and “chain of suffering.” Of course, no one changed the name of the model specifically for the Italian market.
The marketers who came up with the name for VW’s flagship crossover drew inspiration from the nomadic tribe of North Africa (Tuareg). However, the British immediately identified their own consonant name “toerag” or “homeless” for the German all-terrain vehicle.