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Jun 7, 2024

Mid-Year New-Car Names for Driverless/Clueless Consumers

Seven ideas to take for a spin

By Ed Goldman

In my work as a marketing consultant I sometimes have the enjoyable experience of naming stuff like streets, products and books. Though these are all creative fun, my dream is to be hired to name cars.

Think of the car names out there, each meant to suggest adventure: Valkyrie, Spitfire, Cyclone, Gremlin and so forth. All just fine. But here are some names and blurbs the marketers may have missed:

Edgy Cartoon


TOYOTA YETI—While photos of this new hybrid are invariably blurry and shot at a serious distance, this is the perfect car for the eponymous mythical creature to use when making speedy getaways from curious tourists. (Toronto Alert! Ask about our Canadian model, the TOYOTA HATCHBACK SASQUATCH.) 

SWEDISH MEATBALL, by Volvo—This gas-powered car, like its namesake country, always seems to stay in neutral. “Safe travels!” have never been this safe!

MAZDA SAMURAI—This will be my follow-up brand if Mazda Kamikaze doesn’t catch on. Both names have a spirit of adventure, of course, but Kamikaze may evoke a rather brief one—whereas Samurai implies the kind of courage you need to summon up if you’re the kind of driver who thinks a yellow traffic signal means “Speed up!” and a red one means “Slow to 70.”   

MEIN CAR, BY MERCEDES—Those ever-reliable German automakers have done it again: a luxury sedan that all-but-screams “You Will Think Of Me As a Fun Guy!” Go from zero to 100, with some stops to take over Poland, France and Italy in mere milli-seconds. Bunker-shaped with built-in holders for seven schooners or steins. You will enjoy! 

THE ASTON MARTIN DOUBLE-OH-EIGHT—After the presumed demise of James Bond in Daniel Craig’s final appearance as the secret agent, the producers began to scramble to reincarnate not only 007 but also his signature sports car. In the multiple films of the series, that car featured such accessories as missile launchers, an oil-slick spray gun, an ejector seat and, last but not least, the ability to turn invisible. In short, while Bond remained a puny earthling, the car could have been a superhero in the Marvel or DC Universe. So why not bring it back as a self-driving avenger for justice? The filmmakers won’t need to conduct an exhaustive search for a new actor to play Bond (who’d be a zombie anyway, unless they were ready to do some serious ‘splaining) and the new star’s only requirement would be that when a mechanic serviced it, the oil would need to be shaken, not stirred. 

MASERATI MARGHERITA—The perfect study in contrast for the discriminating, and possibly hungry, driver. What could be more complex than a Maserati—yet as simple as margherita, the unadorned pizza you order when you’re trying to sell a first date on your supposed indifference to greasy, delicious food. In short, the car comes flamboyantly loaded—but you’ll appear to be nothing of the sort.

HERE YUGO AGAIN—Yugoslavia is now Bosnia, Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia, with a cameo appearance by the Republic of Kosovo. Yet even with this many independent states participating, the Yugo remains nothing much more than an abandoned Fiat design in a highly bendable frame. I don’t recommend driving it but want the manufacturers to know if they bring it back from oblivion, they can purchase the name from me for mere dinars on the dollar.  

Don’t forget! A new Goldman State Podcast drops every Friday!


Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).