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How to pronounce motoring’s tongue-twisting brands and models

PA Motoring logoPA Motoring 16/08/2019 Adam Weller
a close up of a car: Sometimes, wrapping your mouth around names can be tough; here are some great examples from the world of motoring © PA Sometimes, wrapping your mouth around names can be tough; here are some great examples from the world of motoring

The spoken word is awash with phrases and pronunciation that will twist your tongue at will, or make you question quite how a certain spelling was agreed upon in the first place. And while it is often the names of people and places that can be the hardest of all to say correctly, motoring is certainly not free from names that will trip you up. 

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From brands to badges, these are the motoring pronunciations that commonly trip up everyone from Top Gear to Thomas from the pub.

Koenigsegg (Cone-iggs-egg)

a car parked on the side of a road © Provided by The Press Association (PA Motoring)

This Swedish supercar marque is named for its founder, and while it has built plenty of truly impressive cars in its increasingly rich history, ultimately all conversations about the brand come back to its name. 

However, so long as you’re spelling Koenigsegg correctly, it is said as it is written, but for some it can be very easy to add an extra letter; if we had a pound for every time we were at a car show and heard some declare the One:1 a ‘Koeningsegg’, we’d have enough to buy our own by now.

Porsche (Porsch-er)

a blue car driving on a road © Provided by The Press Association (PA Motoring) Contrary to what appears to be popular belief, the ‘E’ at the end of Porsche is not silent. However, this doesn’t stop many dropping a syllable from the iconic sports car firm’s name when they see a ‘Porsch’ on the road. 

This mis-pronunciation is so common that even Porsche itself has taken action, publishing videos online to assist those who struggle. Perhaps this battle will prove fruitless though, given the year’s biggest song rhymes the brand name with ‘Horse’.

Ssangyong (sang-yong)

a car parked on the side of a road © Provided by The Press Association (PA Motoring) This Korean brand’s first two letters should be pronounced as one, but try telling that to an overwhelming majority of English speakers, and it doesn’t quite command the following of Porsche to correct everyone en masse.

The name itself is rather interesting for reasons beyond how it’s said, as it translates back to Korean as ‘double dragons’. 

Huayra (her-why-ra)

a close up of a toy car © Provided by The Press Association (PA Motoring) Have you ever dreamt of being so rich that you can buy a hypercar with a name most people can’t even say? If so, the successor to the Zonda is the vehicle for you.

Pronounced ‘Her-why-ra’, but often said in a face-bending mash of smashed together sounds, the car takes its name from Peruvian wind God Huayra-tata. 

Alpine (al-peen)

a blue car parked in front of a mountain © Provided by The Press Association (PA Motoring) The recently-revived French sports car outfit is another firm that could run an entire advertising campaign based solely on teaching people to say its name properly.

While it is tempting to go with the pronunciation you’d expect for a word ending in ‘-pine’, it is actually pronounced ‘Al-peen’. And it is not the only Renault-owned manufacturer with a name that catches some out…

Dacia (datch-yer)

a red car parked on the side of a road © Provided by The Press Association (PA Motoring) The blame for this common error can be placed firmly on the doorstep of one James May, whose long-term obsession with the cheap and cheerful ‘Day-see-a’ Sandero introduced Top Gear’s massive audience to Renault’s Romanian budget brand. 

While this free publicity was no doubt welcome, it did come at a price for the marketing team; when the Sandero arrived on British shores in 2013, Dacia had to set about correcting the entire population on how the brand’s name is pronounced. 

It’s actually “Datch-yer”, despite the common belief to the contrary.

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