The Ministry of Silly Names

E-up! lad. There are some silly car names knocking about right now. Here's a list of my favourites

By Tim Kendall | 14th March 2013

For a while now, car companies have been quietly waging war on each other. Not the obligatory sales war, but a war of daft model names. A high-stakes game of who can saddle their new car with the most ridiculous moniker and not kill sales stone dead. We’ve had silly names before of course….

hyundai pony

…But not since the sight of my English teacher’s comically misnomered Hyundai Pony – never was a leather elbow-patched Lancastrian and his car less likely to appear at a gymkhana – have I felt the need to crow about car names. Until now.

Perhaps the car industry is fatigued with model names that evoke distant African tribes or exotically-named winds. Maybe the suits have said ‘enough of these logical engine-size linked hierarchical numbering systems, let’s get wacky’. Or perhaps the automotive power-mongers of our global car industry have been intimidated by over-zealous marketing types and their thick-rimmed spectacles. Let’s look at some of the evidence….

1. Vauxhall Cascada

Straight in at number 1, it’s Vauxhall’s confident and – I hope – not at all ill-judged assault on the premium cabrio market. But will the Griffin badged Audi A5-baiter be hamstrung by being named after a mediocre Eurodance act? Who knows, but the masters of motoring humour, Sniff Petrol had an amusing take on it.

Vauxhall Cascada

The Vauxhall Cascada

2. Vauxhall Adam

Giving a car a bloke’s name just sounds…odd. But then this is a heritage-driven move – the founder of Vauxhall’s European sister brand was called Adam Opel. Fair enough, but the personification of Vauxhall’s city car lends the try-hard Fiat 500 rival a whiff of a ‘please like me, I’ll be your best friend’. If other car companies had followed a similar logic when dreaming up names, we could have ended up with the TVR Trevor, the BMW Karl Friedrich, or indeed the Ferrari..Enzo. Right.

Vauxhall Adam

Fresh and funky? Or annoying? The Vauxhall Adam

3. LaFerrari

Which leads us on to the recently uncloaked Ferrari LaFerrari. It’s Ferrari’s new flagship, a ‘mild hybrid’ V12 hypercar that goes from 0-124mph in less than 7.0 seconds. And forces its owners to explain to their friends they haven’t developed a stutter, it really is called the Ferrari TheFerrari.


The Ferrari TheFerrari. One more time?

4. Kia C’eed

How did the Koreans come up with this name? Why? I don’t understand, it’s silly.

Kia C'eed

The reasonable priced car with the unreasonably punctuated name

5. Smart Forjeremy

What happens when pocket-sized car manufacturer Smart teams up with flamboyant American fashion designer Jeremy Scott? A monstrously stupid name and this dubiously-attired motorised rollerskate. With wings don’t you know. Why didn’t Red Bull think of this first? Because they have eyes.

Smart Forjeremy

Smart Forjeremy. Forf*ck’s sake.

6. Volkswagen up!

Adding spurious and redundant punctuation to a car name just sounds camp, forcing one to utter this baby VW’s name with unwarranted enthusiasm. If I were in the market for a competent little city car, having to say up! in the manner of Barbara Woodhouse training a Labrador would certainly put me off buying the VW-badged version. I’d rather slum it in the more tastefully-named but identical Skoda Citigo thanks.

VW up!

What goes up…

7. Volkswagen e-up!

VW have just announced an electric version of the plucky and effervescent up! It’s called the e-up! Yes! Rumours of special editions aimed at customers in Yorkshire, including an e-up vetinary! and e-up lad! remain uncorroborated at the time of putting finger to keyboard.

VW e-up!

Thought I was joking?


8. Hyundai Scoupe

Thank goodness the Koreans branched out from equine-themed names to give us this early nineties creation, with a name evocative of those plastic poo-trowels beloved of dog owners. In the days when the Hyundai Scoupe Turbo SE prowled the streets, the Korean firm’s strapline was ‘prepare to want one’. I still don’t want a Scoupe, but I’d take a Veloster.

Hyundai Scoupe

Prepare to want one. The Hyundai Scoupe Turbo.


Thought of some more stupid car names? Let me know using the form below.





By Tim Kendall
14th March 2013

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