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How did the most famous cars get their names?

Autocar Logo By Ronan Glon of Autocar | Slide 1 of 24: There are entire departments within each car firm tasked with choosing the right name for the right model in the right market. Getting it wrong can turn an otherwise competitive car into a hilariously costly flop. The nameplate also plays a role in forging a car’s image. The next Volkswagen Golf won't sell as well as its predecessors if the marketing department gives it a name that sounds like a vulgar insult when said in English. Similarly, we’d have a difficult time imagining BMW releasing a model called Charlotte to replace the 4 Series. And yet, heritage aside, Giulia undoubtedly fits Alfa Romeo’s 3 Series-fighter much better than G20t4D would. Join us as we explore the meaning (or, in some cases, the lack of meaning) behind some of the industry’s enigmatic nameplates:

Picking a name for a car is a career on its own.

There are entire departments within each car firm tasked with choosing the right name for the right model in the right market. Getting it wrong can turn an otherwise competitive car into a hilariously costly flop.

The nameplate also plays a role in forging a car’s image. The next Volkswagen Golf won't sell as well as its predecessors if the marketing department gives it a name that sounds like a vulgar insult when said in English. Similarly, we’d have a difficult time imagining BMW releasing a model called Charlotte to replace the 4 Series. And yet, heritage aside, Giulia undoubtedly fits Alfa Romeo’s 3 Series-fighter much better than G20t4D would.

Join us as we explore the meaning (or, in some cases, the lack of meaning) behind some of the industry’s enigmatic nameplates:

© Mercedes-Benz

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