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January 16, 2008

Cool Green Car Product Naming An Asian Thing

Concern for the environment has occupied a great share of our attention recently.

This focus has not been lost on auto manufacturers. At the recent Detroit Auto Show, several environmentally friendly autos were introduced:

  • Dodge Zeo - This brand name is a clipping of the word zero to signify that this Dodge vehicle generates zero emissions.
  • ecovoyager.gifChrysler ecoVoyager - This name simply precedes the current Voyager brand with "eco" which suggests it's an environmentally friendly, battery powered vehicle.
  • JeepRConcept.gifCadillac Provoq - A hydrogen powered Cadillac with a stylized name suggesting either provoke or more likely provacative since the source of power is very unusual, provoking great admiration or interest.

Most of the rest of the new auto naming comes from taking an established brand name and adding “concept” to it (e.g. Jeep Renegade Concept).

Another tack in car branding is the Zenn and Karma, which comes from California, of all places. Or the Mazda Furai (which means “the sound of wind” in Japanese).

Toyota’s Prius has set the bar in my opinion. It’s a good name from a well known company, and a great car. If Japanese car makers grab all the good names, consumers are going to start thinking that green cars are an Asian thing, which would be a pity.

One great name for an American green car would be “Sequoia”-- now there’s a name that doesn’t simply have “eco” tacked in front of it and doesn’t sound like a Star Wars droid—plus the word is utterly green and American. Oops, Toyota has that, too.

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Posted by William Lozito at January 16, 2008 7:31 AM
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1 Comment

ZEO is probably more than just "Zero Emissions Operation". It also rhymes with both "neo" and "geo," both of which carry the sort of connotation I'm sure Chrysler is happy to associate with the car.

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