by Mark Prus Marketing Consultant at  NameFlashSM

As a professional name developer, I think about names all the time. One of my favorite times to think is when driving. No, I am not “texting while driving.” But when I pull up behind a car at a red light, I notice the name on the back of the car. Lately I’ve been paying more attention to car names. And you know what? Car names today stink by and large.

What put me over the edge was the Suzuki Kizashi. Who wants to drive a car that sounds like a breakfast cereal? I think the name is very confusing, and apparently many people agree. Today I “Googled” Kizashi…about 881,000 hits. I also “Googled” Kazashi…75,400 hits. Other spelling variants got hits too. If you listen to how it is pronounced on the TV ad, it sounds like Kazashi not Kizashi, so I am not surprised that almost 10% of people are confused. even had it misspelled when it first was added to the site!

Here is a terrific listing of historical car names.

Oh do I miss my Legend, my Firebird, etc. Yes there were some “clunker” names in the past (Ford Probe anyone? And why would you name a car Mariner?). And I still have to explain that we did not buy my wife’s Prius because it looks like my last name (but if you see me in your rear-view mirror keep in mind that sudden acceleration thing…).

What do we have today? Suzuki Kizashi? Porsche Panamera? Kia Forte Koup? Is the trademark situation so polluted that we have to start making up crazy names?

Sorry…where is the passion? Where is the secondary meaning that demonstrates the imagery I need in a car? My car is an extension of my personality after all! I’d even settle for a descriptive name (sorry trademark attorneys!).

What are your favorite car names? Which ones do you think are “clunkers?”