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The Daftest Car Names

There seems to be a little rule out there somewhere that states that if something’s in a foreign language, it’s more sophisticated, more desirable and generally cooler. A number of cars and other vehicles available on the Australian market have names that fall into this category, such as the VW Amarok  (Amarok means “Wolf”), the Porsche Carrera  (Carrera means “Race) and the Alfa Romeo Mito  (Mito means “Myth”). And a lot of them kind of work in the original language (even so we keep hearing that Pajero is the Spanish for “wanker”, although they were popular enough in some Latin American countries, nevertheless).  Some don’t, like the Maserati Quattroporte, which sounds cool until you realise that “quattroporte” merely means “four doors” – it doesn’t get more uninspired than that.

Some cars intended for the Asian market also have a go at trying to use a cool foreign language, namely English, and fail. Badly.  Some of them even made it onto the market over here, making you feel like a twit when you tried asking the salespeople for them.  Here’s a selection of some of the ones that made me snigger in no particular order so you can get a chuckle out of them too.  And maybe this might make you stop and think a little bit before you buy that shirt (or get that tattoo) with Chinese or Japanese characters you can’t understand just in case the reverse happens and you provide your Asian friends with something to laugh at in return.

  1. Great Wall Wingle

It’s not a bad little pickup really, in spite of a name that sounds like a cutesy term used by small children for boys’ private parts.

  1. Tang Hua Detroit Fish

The “Fish” part is understandable for a car that’s intended to be amphibious.  But we just don’t get the “Detroit” part.

  1. Mitsubishi Lettuce

OK, we get the need to suggest the environment and sustainability, but naming a car after a really common salad ingredient doesn’t seem to work (though Mizuna and Rocket, which are commonly found in your typical mesclun salad would kind of work, as would Mesclun itself).



  1. Honda Life Dunk
  2. Mitsubishi Mini Active Urban Sandal

Do the Japanese car manufacturers cut out words they like the sound of and pull them at random out of a bag? Is there any other explanation as to how these cars got their names?

  1. Geely Rural Nanny

OK, this ute is designed for the country – hence Rural – and it will take care of you – like a Nanny – but the two together…

  1. Mazda Bongo Friendee

This is actually quite a reliable van and I used to own one – it made a great camper and trade vehicle.  However, answering the question “So what sort of car do you drive?” was really cringe-inducing.  At least it amused the kids.

  1. Honda That’s

That’s…. what????  This is a car guaranteed to drive the Grammar Police nuts.

  1. Toyota Deliboy

This van type-thing would work for making deliveries from the local deli store or doing similar courier work.  But what if the person making the deliveries is a girl?

  1. Daihatsu Scat

OK, what’s a good name for a small 4×4 that suggests the great outdoors? How about one of the things that hunters use to track animals?  Did nobody tell the makers that when you find animal “scat”, you have not found footprints but something smellier.

  1. Suzuki Every Scrum Joypop Turbo

We repeat the theory of cutting up random words and pulling them out at random.

  1. Isuzu Mysterious Utility Wizard, aka MU

“Mysterious Wizard” has a certain ring to it, although it’s a bit grandiose.  But when you add in the “Utility” bit, it suggests a sorcerer who you can’t figure out a use for.  As for the “MU” bit, do you pronounce this “Moo” like a cow, “Mew” like a cat or “Em You”?  However, the weird name didn’t stop this being a reasonably popular and successful SUV, to the point that Isuzu have brought out a sequel in the form of the MUX (Mucks?  Mooks?  Em You Ex?).

  1. Mitsubishi 500 Mum Shall We Join Us?

Leaving aside the interesting philosophical question about why people would ask whether or not they would join themselves, what’s with the question mark?  And the Mum?

  1. Daihatsu Naked Be-Pal

The “Naked” bit is bad enough on its own, but the “Be Pal” bit?

  1. Peugeot Tepee

We get the reference to Native American buffalo skin tents but anything with “Pee” in it is a disaster.


Any beautiful disasters – in any language – that we’ve missed?  Or maybe  all, folks!