Automotive: March 2006 Archives

Brand Naming: Where are the BMW Brand Police?

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

The BMW Company LogoForgive my indulgence in a little , but I find it heartening to discover that even the world's largest manufacturer of premium automobiles has trouble controlling how consumers translate its name.

Or is this a precursor to the much talked about concept these days of the "consumer owning the brand"? It's predicted that with the advent of Web 2.0 social networking companies such as , the balance of power is shifting from companies and institutions to consumers like you and me.

BMW AG, of Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, or in English, Bavarian Motor Works, is, in German pronounced "bay emm vay."

In North America, however, BMW cars are commonly called "bimmers," (in the German language, the correct pronunciation of the term "bimmer" is "beemer.")

“Beemer" is adapted from the early-20th-Century British pronunciation of BSA, another motorcycle that was often racing against BMWs. Over time, the term became closely associated with BMW motorcycles, however.

Eventually the beemer pronunciation of the word was attached almost exclusively to its auto. And from there, Beemer transmogrified into a cornucopia of uncontrollable cross-cultural translations.

In Russia, for example, the car is considered a Bummer – which, in the U.S., is analogous to a bad drug experience.

In Lithuania, on the other hand, consumers actually feel safe driving in a sturdy Bambalis - a name that is achingly similar to the German word Bambus, which means bamboo.

In Greece, the Ultimate Driving Machine is a Beba – close in pronunciation to the German verb beben which means to shake, quake or rattle.

I find it most disheartening, in Mexico, drivers can park their BM just about anywhere – which, according to our American Miss Manners, is not the proper thing to do with one’s bowel movement (BM).

For more variations on how BMW Beemer is pronounced in different cultures, check out The Bimmer’s Bavaria on .

BMW enthusiasts, I think, will find these blogs very interesting: , , and .

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Brand Naming: Planes, Trains, and Cliffriders?

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

Tata CliffriderThe new Cliffrider by Tata Motors was recently launched at the Geneva Motor Show. It is described in a recent on Autoblog as a “multi-utility vehicle”. I think the "MUV" is trying to be everything to everybody.

There seems to be a universal disdain in the blogoshpere for the company’s car, puzzlement over the name Cliffrider, and jokes about “bodacious tatas”. Tata is an eponymous name from the company's founder, Sir Jamshedji Tata, and Tata Motors is India’s largest auto group.

I think the Cliffrider brand name is unfortunate, but there is no excuse for the Cliffrider brand, which has to be one of the worst ever for a car, along with the . Cars are simply not supposed to ride cliffs, even cross-over .

Tata CliffriderAlthough India is the second fastest growing economy in the world after China, when it comes to brand naming, the emerging companies in India are still in the adolescent phase.

Keep up on the naming of new cars by regularly visiting the blog and the blog.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

FerrariFerrari recently the new Fiorano 599 GTB at the Geneva auto show, an incredibly fast closed coupe (berlinetta) named after the company’s test track. The “599” represents the car’s 5.99 litre engine, and “GTB” stands for Gran Turismo Berlinetta.

FerrariProbably no sports car company on earth has more evocative names for their cars, most often taken either from the names of Ferrari family members (Dino, Enzo) or from racing locations (Superamerica, Mondail, Daytona). My favorite Ferrari name is, of course, that of the , which means, simply “red head” after the red cylinder head on its flat-12 engine.

I think the Cavallino Rampante (the small black horse on its hind legs that makes up the Ferrari logo) continues to provide beautiful names for their beautiful machines. Bravo, Ferrari.

For more reviews of car and truck introductions, read Tapscott's . To read about what other Ferrari enthusiasts are saying, you need to check out the . Now, if you're truly an obsessed Ferrari fan, I found Anthony Lazzaro's blog to be entertaining.

Technorati Tags: , , ,