Thinking up a name for a car can be a long and meticulous process, with auto executives poring over every single word that would best convey what the new model has to offer. Sometimes the company comes up with winners – the Lamborghini Aventador, the Lincoln Continental, the Honda Civic, and the Chevrolet Suburban just to name a few – but every once in a while they over-think things and end up with unintentionally cringe-inducing car names.
Here are some of the ten worst (or best) car name fails:
Mitsubishi Active Urban Sandal
A minicar concept from 1995, the Active Urban Sandal was Mitsubishi’s attempt to tap into the young car owner demographic, which probably explains the hip buzzwords “urban” and “active”. The jury’s still out on “sandal”, however. Thankfully, the carmaker probably became aware of how ridiculous it sounded as it later abbreviated the name to MAUS.
Isuzu Mysterious Utility Wizard
If the MAUS was meant for the young and hip generation, the Isuzu Mysterious Utility Wizard crossover SUV is presumably aimed at Hogwarts alumni. After all, Harry needs to bring the kids to quidditch practice somehow.
America isn’t exempt in the terrible car naming business, as shown by the Oldsmobile Achieva. Produced from 1992 to 1998, the Achieva four-wheel drive compact had a pretty modest production run, only to be replaced by a compact with a similarly head-scratching name, the Oldsmobile Alero.
Originally named as the Volkswagen Type 181, this four-door utility vehicle was sold in the US as the Thing. Why Volkswagen thought the new name was better than the old one still remains a mystery.
Renault Le Car
This 1970’s supermini is further proof that you can make anything sound fancy if you say it in French.
Mazda Bongo Friendee
How can anybody be mad with a van with a name like the Bongo Friendee? Some models also came with a built-in tent at the roof for additional quirkiness.
Widely derided as one of the ugliest cars ever built, this crossover SUV’s name certainly didn’t do it any favors.
Yup, That’s its name alright. Manufactured from 2002 to 2006, the That’s “kei” car was sold exclusively within Japan.
Tang Hua Detroit Fish
Despite sounding like a Scrabble game gone awry, the Tang Hua Detroit Fish concept was named after the fact that it is capable of traveling through water and was unveiled at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show.
Emis Fusck Up
While all the names we’ve listed here are hilarious in their own way, all pale in comparison to, well, this Fusck Up. Hailing from Brazil, the Fusck Up was a modification of the classic Volkswagen Beetle, turning the erstwhile compact into a functional pickup or small van. And the name was quite relevant too, despite sounding like something that coming out of an executive who had too much cervejas after work – the Beetle is known as “Fusca” in Brazil, the Portuguese word for beetle.