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July 28, 2006

Links Du Jour 07-28-06

  • Norman's World - Tom Peters shares that a recent L.L.Bean order of his was N.I.S. (not in store.) What's interesting is that Leon Leonwood Bean (L.L.Bean) has turned over the reins to his nephew, whose name happens to be Norman Ignatius Stephen Bean (N.I.S. Bean). I don't think Norman has any plans on changing the company name.
  • Concatenation of letter strings can get you into trouble - Geoffrey K. Pullum at Language Log reports on an interesting story regarding the embarassing intersection of linguistics, company naming, and domain names. Italian battery company Powergen Italia's website URL is Yes, they have since changed their company name. Pen Island is a company selling customized pens, and really does have a current web site called
  • Pretentious names for trim - Jack Yan talks about those tricky car names and levels denoted by letters such as L, GL, and S, or a combination, like the Camaro Z-28. These letters or words following the brand name denote how well equipped a car was. Now, Jack says, auto makers are denoting extra levels of quality with created names such as Focus Platinum, Ford Zetec, Renault ScĂ©nic, or Commodore Omega. Do you think pretentious names inform the consumer?

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Posted by at July 28, 2006 9:11 AM
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The practice of adding something to the name of a car model to indicate some level of frills was definitely going on with American cars in the 1970s. I remember a couple of Buick models, the Electra and the Le Sabre, had high-end versions called the Electra Park Avenue and the Le Sabre Luxus.

I also believe the Ford Crown Victoria was originally the LTD Crown Victoria, a high-end version of the LTD, but continued as just the Crown Victoria after the LTD was discontinued.

Robert, your recollection is correct, and LTD itself was a high-end trim for the full-size Fords from the 1960s on.
   We seem to continue downgrading these names: now that Holden has announced its full Commodore line, we learn that the previous model range of Executive, Acclaim, Berlina and Calais has now become Omega, Berlina, Calais and Calais V. For a short while, the Calais driver might think he is in the top model, before it becomes apparent that he is now only in the intermediate one, especially as the goodwill erodes.
   It keeps happening, especially with family cars, and I am not sure it is a good thing.

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