Posts from ‘Brands and Marketing’


Daihatsu Charade

It wasn’t just automotive branding; the Eighties were rife with questionable marketing efforts. Unloaded on a largely dismissive public were the Betamax-format VCR, Colgate Kitchen Entrées (really), and Joanie Loves Chachi. Still, we can forgive such flops, as the buying public can be unpredictable when it comes to technology, food, and entertainment. But carmakers—well, by the Eighties they’d been making and selling cars for most of a century.


Why not name your concept car for a device used during invasive medical procedures? This 1982 concept car seems to have influenced both the Ford Taurus and the European-market Sierra (our Merkur XR4Ti), and predated the production Ford Probe by seven years.

At Consumer Guide, we listen to our readers. So, when you fired back with your nominations for the worst model names of all time, we took note. Below please find the five model names most mentioned by our blog friends. If you haven’t yet chimed in with your pick for lousy model names, fear not. We’ll likely do another Readers’ Choice post soon.


Tom doesn’t think much of Breeze as a model name.

According to online business magazine Fast Company, a good product name should be memorable, mean something, and sound good when spoken. By those rules, Accord strikes me as a good model name. Accord means something (the definition of accord is “agreement of import”), it’s memorable as a model name, and it rolls nicely off the tongue.

Sexist Honda Ad

Who is this ad aimed at? (1972 Honda Ad)

The message in these vintage ads is pretty clear. Buy the right car and you’ll get all the women you deserve. That’s if you’re a guy. If you’re a woman, well, maybe you should consult your husband or boyfriend before making such a big purchase decision.

The auto industry is a different place this century, but it’s always amusing to looking back and see how simple—and often sexist—things once were. You know, back when Buick had a way with women.


A pure-electric vehicle, the Spark EV wears a “wave” badge tagged with letters “EV.”

Blue is the new “Green,” sort of. A quick review of recent eco-themed automotive marketing suggests that the word green may be losing steam as a catch-all descriptor of things eco-friendly.


Car Logo HistoryThrough their logos, many automakers have created a dazzling world of wonder. In logo land, you’ll discover roman gods, prancing horses, and mystical beasts—as well as religious themes such as the Holy Trinity and the Christian Crusades. It’s a universe of stars and planets, ships and rockets, diamonds and domination. One emblem, which is simply a crooked letter, symbolizes a trustworthy handshake.

Wartburg Knight

Wartburg Knight

Foreign automakers have been selling vehicles in America since the early days of the automobile, but not all international automobiles, or their nameplates, are appropriate for U.S. buyers. Here is a fun sampling of some bizarre foreign-vehicle names.


Mitsubishi Lancer Mercedes-Benz Edition

I never quite got past the Mercury Villager Nautica. Someone funnier than me once called it “a vehicle that’s not quite a van wearing a label that’s not quite designer.” Not quite as troubling, but clearly overreaching, was the Chevrolet Venture Warner Brothers Edition. I recall that this bit of silly cobranding got Chevy into trouble when it wanted to sponsor events at Disney.


1997 Ford Aspire (Sorry, but some of us had higher aspirations.)

There’s a brand of commercial toilet paper named Surpass. Really. I can’t help but chuckle when I think about the pitch meeting in which that name was first introduced. Given that the one-ply, generically wrapped, oh-too-necessary office supply would likely be pitched only to accountants, property managers, and inventory assistants, you’d think that a name like Stingy Wipe or Econo-Komfort might make more sense.

2013 Ford Fusion

In Tom’s Manufacturer’s Midsize Sedan Challenge Cup Series, cars would be powered by 4-cylinder engines, including car No. 24, a Ford Fusion.

Full disclosure up front: Consumer Guide, by way of parent company Publications International, Ltd., has a licensing relationship with NASCAR related to our hardcover book operation. Just saying. . . .

NASCAR isn’t about cars anymore; it’s about personalities. While that’s fine, the formula doesn’t really work for me. For the same reason I don’t care much for reality TV, I can’t latch on to the soap-opera-style drama that permeates NASCAR.

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