Automotive: November 2010 Archives

PorscheLoho.pngPorsche has confirmed that they are creating a new compact SUV called the "Cajun," which one blogger says "evokes not only a people originating from Acadia (hey, that's a GMC!) and the rustic cuisine they imported from Canada to Louisiana, but also serves as a contraction of  'Cayenne Junior.'"

This "working title" may not actually be the name of the model that hits the US, but chances are Porsche will stay with it.

Some Porsche lovers are ambivalent about the Cayenne - the first four-door Porsche introduced in 2003 - believing that Porsche has tarnished its good name by going for the SUV crowd, but the fact is that the Cayenne outsells the Boxter, the company's entry level sports car.

CajunPorsche.pngPorsche is depending on American car buyers to snap up this car, as the Cajun (rendering pictured at right) joins the Porsche Panamera as a supersized rich man's toy aimed at the West Coast.

These names are meant to appeal to us, and they obviously strike a chord.

I would be curious to know your thoughts on the Cayenne, Panamera and the Cajun logical additions to the storied Porsche lines, or aberrations that must be endured?

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GM has started producing the first Baojun passenger vehicles in a joint venture with SAIC Motor in China.

Baojun360.gifThe Baojun 630 sedan is meant to compete with other affordable vehicles in China including those from Zhejiang Geely Holding Group and BYD Co.

This comes on the heels of the success of the new Sail vehicle which is the cheapest foreign brand car in China with the base model starting around US $8,600.

The launch positions GM as one of the top importers into the country and the name is, importantly, a Chinese word meaning "treasured horse."

Each digit in the "630" of the name holds significance. The first digit, 6, refers to the model series, the 3 refers to the body type and the last digit refers to the generation, which in this is case 0.

This car will be more expensive than the Sail but still relatively cheap, selling somewhere under US $15,000.

It is interesting to note that GM is aiming to expand its reach beyond the large coastal cities into the smaller cities and towns on Mainland China.

This, in part, explains the Chinese name. Chinese car buyers are very loyal to local brands... this is clearly a move to make imports accessible to entry level buyers.

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Yo! Russia Opts For Some Weird Car Brand Naming

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The Russians have a new hybrid car that is selling for under $10,000. It looks sort of like a Honda and might be a real shot in the arm for an auto industry that is almost synonymous with horrible cars. A naming contest was held to give this a brand and the winner is ... "ё."

e.pngThis is a letter that only appears in the Russian alphabet. It is the seventh letter in the alphabet and references the way Russians show excitement, which is by exclaiming "ё-ё-ё!"

The letter is also associated with good luck, some say. The head of the naming group feels that this brand may bring the "ё" into the West, and "not only on the Russian keyboards."

But what is more interesting is how contentious the letter is used in Russia, where some editors refuse to use it, preferring instead to use a simple "e."

One town in Russia actually had a small movement to bring back the usage of the letter with the umlaut.

Apparently, "ё" is the beginning of a few words that "are swear words that would make a sailor blush, while another is yorsh, a ruff fish or a slang term for a drink mixing beer and vodka."

In fact, there are only eight words that are "clean" that begin with the letter in the Russian language. So, it has a rather bad rap in its country of origin.

Even worse, Russians usually exclaim "ё-ё-ё!" to "express surprise with regard to some bad or unexpected news."

This is very similar to the expression yo-yo-yo that is used in Africa to express beweilderment. Plus, it is pronounced "jou" and will be understood over here as "Yo!" As in, well, yo-yo.

That is, if the car is actually exported out of Russia.

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Alas, poor Mr. Goodwrench is getting laid off after 36 years of working for for GM.
Mr.Goodwrench.png
The company is doing away with the iconic brand name and character to focus on its four more "prosiac" brands: "Buick Certified Service, Cadillac Certified Service, Chevrolet Certified Service and GMC Certified Service."

This does away with what Automotive News has called GM's "brand clutter."

Mr. Goodwrench was so well known that NASA astronauts repairing the Hubble telescope compared themselves to him and Jay Leno's show featured an evil doppelganger character called "Mr. Badwrench."

Dealerships were not using the name and service in recent years, despite its association with NASCAR by being featured on Dale Earnhardt's car.

Over a decade ago Mr. Goodwrench was changed to the less sexist "Goodwrench Service" and that might have been the beginning of the end. The old ads really built up the character of Mr. Goodwrench as a blue collar, swarthy mechanic with "hands that care."

But it seems that his presence started to remind customers that GM cars needed a hands on mechanic more than their Asian competitors.

His demise has been long in coming. GM shelved the name around 2000, only to bring it back in 2003 in commercials starring Stephen Colbert.

Now, as GM simplifies its naming strategy - doing away with Hummer and Saab, for instance - Mr. Goodwrench has to go, too.

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