Automotive: July 2006 Archives

Links Du Jour 07-28-06

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  • 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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Brand Naming: Lincoln's MKZ Is Not A Motorola RAZR

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MKXLincoln is changing the name of its new MKZ nameplate.

More accurately, they're chaning the pronunciation from [mark-zee] to [em-kay-zee]. There's a very well-written by Bryce G. Hoffman, in The Detroit News detailing the change. Also changing are the 'MK' components of the MKX and MKS brand names.

I guess MKZ is no RAZR. The latter is easier to pronounce because only the vowel is missing. On the other hand, to pronounce MKZ as Mark Z is perhaps asking too much of the consumer with both a vowel and consonant removed from Mark.

As successful as Motorola has been with RAZR, ROKR, and PEBL, in all cases, removing the vowels, Motorola's planned SCPL (for scalpel cell phone) may encounter the same fate as the Lincoln MKZ. See my May 30th , Brand Naming: Is Motorola's SCPL Cutting Too Much?

Apparently, in the brief 6 months of the Lincoln MKZ and Lincoln MKX brand nomenclature, dealers complained about the brand architecture approach.

For both the MKZ and MKX, keeping the nameplate but pronouncing them differently, which is more in keeping with European and luxury auto nomenclature, it is probably a good compromise. I could just imagine the cost of changing the nameplate to something entirely different and the additional confusion that would create.

Additionally, our proprietary research of all the consonants in the English language has indicated that both the letters X and Z are perceived as innovative. Fortunately, for Lincoln, both letters are used and should work to convey that Lincoln is offering innovative automobiles.

Could this brand naming "stubbing of the toe" have been avoided with some brand name research?

and both picked up on this story earlier today. Check out their readers' insightful comments.

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