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Should Auto Makers Rename Models?

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On: Thu, Aug 15, 2013 at 9:02AM | By: Elizabeth Puckett

Should Auto Makers Rename Models?

Would a rose smell as sweet by any other name? Would a Corvette be as fast if were no longer a Corvette? Well, yes, but wouldn’t that be weird? Car makers are reconsidering the names of their vehicles in an attempt to make them more modern in hopes to shake some of the stigma that comes along with certain long running models and their names. 

The name of the model of a car is really important; it actually has a lot to do with why many people choose to buy that particular model. Whether the name is catchy or the driver associates it with brand loyalty, most people follow what they are most familiar with -- and that’s why auto makers invest millions of dollars into name related marketing strategies to influence how you feel about their cars before you know anything further about it.

When auto makers do sit down and strategize about names of models, they take the task very seriously. In the quest for coming up with a suitable name, the maker will spend a lot of time and resources trying to find a name which is unspoken for, not already protected under copy-write, and catchy. Some are designed around pleasant situations or favorable nouns, while others use catchy numbers and letter combinations.

Why would an auto maker go through the trouble of ever changing a name? When the name is just falling flat or has worn out its welcome, it might be worth the millions of additional dollars to make the switch. Making a name change to a model is usually a move of desperation by the auto maker, but sometimes they do it for reason consumers don’t seem to understand.

The cost of changing a brand name can be a lot more than you might imagine. A lot of money goes into the rebranding of a car. Auto makers have to go through the whole process of brainstorming and researching a new name, make investment into new badge/emblems, and even update stationary.

An even more challenging task comes with familiarizing the customer with the car again. When the auto maker changes the name, it can be disorientating to the customer.

So what does changing a name really accomplish anyways? The auto makers must believe that doing so will increase sales in some way or they wouldn’t do it. Is it a means to a new identity or does it accomplish exactly the opposite and extinguish familiar brands?


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