Global events and extreme activists have also taken their toll on a car’s success, or otherwise. The current Toyota (and previous 1950s Morris) ISIS, for example, might prove more popular if renamed, with Kia wisely reconsidering its Provo (an extremist Irish movement) concept nomenclature. The UK-market timing of the Fiat Argenta introduction was unfortunate too, the car being launched in Spring 1982 just as the Falklands War began! Tata suffered a similar fate with its jaunty Zica hatchback, revealed shortly before the zika virus took hold; the model swiftly being renamed the Tiaga.
Superstition also has a role to play in settling on a globally-acceptable model name. In some parts of Asia, for example, the stylish Alfa Romeo 164 had to be rebadged 166, due to 164 being considered unlucky. Renault was forced to take similar action in Italy when the 1970s 17 coupe was announced, the car being re-branded 117 to avoid the Italians snubbing the ‘unlucky’ 17.
I’ll leave the final word on unfortunately named cars though to the British kit car industry, which given its alternative take on motoring, has inevitably exceeded the levels of good taste in vehicle naming, a few seizing on the power of the ‘F’ word.
An appealing 21st century take on the classic beach buggy kit theme, now known as the Hoppa buggy, was originally made by FUBAR, with the Company’s name standing for ****** Up Beyond All Recognition! The distinctive Census, briefly built by Oxfordshire-based sports car maker FBS, claimed that its Company name either stood for Fabulous British Sportscars, or ******* British ****, depending how business was going.
However, surely the most inspired name (or outrageous, depending on your viewpoint), must go to Bakewell-based British-Car.net, a short-lived kit car maker offering a Suzuki SJ-based body kit, the model being called the F.U.Kit. Now, that name really would get my French friend’s attention!
MR2 image courtesy of Bringatrailer.