QotW: What’s the worst model name?

A few weeks ago we asked JNCers what the best model name was. Well here’s the flipside. Sometimes the best and worst are one in the same but in any case we put the question to you.

What’s the worst model name?

According to Oxford a Charade is “an absurd pretense intended to create a pleasant or respectable appearance.” Why Daihatsu‘s marketing team did not see this as a Bad Thing will always be one of the world’s great mysteries.

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining, well-written, or inspiring comment by next Monday will receive a random JDM toy. Click through to see the winner from last week’s question, “What’s the best Japanese car commercial from the West?” 

There were so many to choose from. In the pantheon of American ads it’s hard to beat Nissan‘s 1990s streak that included such classics as Ridley Scott’s Turbo Z spot, Mr K’s Dream Garage, GI Joe and Barbie in a 300ZX (and its Pathfinder followup), and my personal fave, “If I had a Z.”

However, Honda UK seems unable to do any wrong, given adverts like Impossible Dream, Hate Something/Change Something and the ad contained in this week’s most inspiring comment by Aly.

For me, it’ll have to be Honda’s “Cog” from the UK.

As a car advert, it’s probably the most antithetical of what a car advert should be. No burning rubber, no open roads, even no driver. But the entire concept of the ad – calculated, precise, and done in real life without any trickery – reflects what Honda is (or rather should be) all about: persistence, precision and the desire to keep trying until all the elements just work.

I think Wieden+Kennedy embraced Soichiro Honda’s spirit in an amazingly artistic way, and for this I consider it to be “the best Japanese car commercial from the West”.

Omedetou, madam! Your prize from the JNC gashapon is a Tomica Honda City Turbo II!

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48 Responses to QotW: What’s the worst model name?

  1. cesariojpn says:

    Mitsubishi Dignity/Proudia. For cars named for being proud and stately, they sure had short lifespans (3 years), shared the platform with Hyundai as the Hyundai Equus, died for nearly a decade, and then live on once again…..as shared platforms of the Nissan Cima and Fuga. Kinda insulting to the name if you ask me.

  2. stuffnnonsense says:

    Mazda Laputa. From Wikipedia “the name is fortuituously unfit for Portuguese and Spanish-speaking countries, since “la puta” in Spanish means literally “the whore””

  3. James Eades says:

    Volkswagen Thing

    it doesn’t even have a real name

    • Benjamin says:

      A German car made in Mexico doesn’t deserve a real name.

      • DrNick says:

        Hey whats wrong with being made in Mejico? i mean Mexico?? I am from Mexico, but yeah VW is really bad. You might as well buy an used buick, VW reliability it really really really bad, even in the US.

        • Toy_yoda says:

          Off topic this is. VW isnt even a JNC. Whats the difference between a Thing and a 181? Anyone know?

          • jivecom says:

            There is no difference, the 181 just got stupid names in various markets. They called it the Thing in america, the Trekker in the uk, and the Safari in mexico

  4. dankan says:

    I think Toyota just managed to set a record in failure last week when they announced the Spade:


    It’s pretty hard to top racial epithetery…

    • Benjamin says:

      Maybe Toyota should change the name to Hi-Ace of Spade? I used a spade to help me dig a hole yesterday. I guess I’m racist too.

      • dankan says:

        Meh, I think they just should have kept the name Porte and not bothered renaming the car for a different dealership chain. I can’t see the business sense in that, but then, I can’t see the business sense in a lot of what goes on with JDM market stuff.

  5. Benjamin says:

    The worst model name is no name at all. Datsun 510? That sounds like a pair of knock-off Levi jeans.

  6. MOCMAN says:

    Favorite car commercial series? Joe Isuzu

  7. Jason says:

    and now folks, lets give it up for the best worst name ever…not only is the model name bad, the make might even be worse, i present to you the Daewoo Laganza.
    Laganza ? Really ? Sounds like the daily special at your local Italian eatery. So how does it get worse…Daewoo is the make. This is how bad it is, i’ve seen just about everything “fixed” up from chrysler lebarons with side markers and tuner wheels, to Honda’s sporting TRD badges and Toyota’s sporting vtec and “R” decals, but i cant say i have ever seen a Daewoo get some wak love. After all, if anyone asks you, what kinda car you have, it probably go down like : ” I’m sorry a Day-what ? “

  8. Fr3D says:

    Hands down the Mazda Laputa as stuffnnonsense said. Insane name. Also Pajero is slang for “to masturbate” or “to be effin lazy” in South America.

  9. Raul says:

    I would having say the Isuzu “hombre”. translation is Man, that truck is definitely not a man’s truck! Lol

  10. Eddie K says:

    The Mitsubishi Pajero.
    Pajero in some Spanish speaking countries like Argentina means “jerk off”…

  11. Old skool says:

    For me is pajero.a mitsubishi.in spanish mean a fan of fap.lol

  12. Jeff Koch says:

    Honda That’s. Not a noun, not a verb. Demonstrative adjective? Adverb modifier? And possessive to boot. WTF?

  13. Hayashi says:

    Daihatsu Naked. Get down, yo.

    • Hayashi says:

      Apologies, just spotted the ‘most entertaining, well-written, or inspiring comment’ requisite.

      ‘I’m a Naked owner. Want a ride?’

  14. Brian Daniels says:

    I’ll suggest the Mazda Scrum, Mazda Bongo, and Bongo Friendee.

  15. Elauqs says:

    The worst model name?? Well just because I own one, I must say that to me it’s the Nissan 300ZX!!

    Why is that? It’s a perfectly fine name I can hear you saying! Well try saying it 10 times as fast as possible, and you’ll understand!!! It’s not very easy nor actually pleasant to articulate… And I’m French (It’s not any better said in French), and over here, that car is pretty much unheard of, so when people ask me what I drive they’re like: “a three-what?” – and I have to say it again… Couldn’t they just call it 300Z? Or better, Fairlady Z?

    Oh and that’s a good one too, why give this car 2 names, uh? Do they really like having so many decals at the back of the car saying “Nissan Fairlady Z 300ZX Twin Turbo”…

    But hell, I don’t really mind it so much after all because it’s such a great car 😀

  16. KillyBamp says:

    The Toyota MR2, pronounced in french as ’em air der’ which translates as ‘a shit’

  17. Chris.B says:

    The worst about the 300ZX in France is that the car is usually mistaken for a Citroen ZX, one of the dullest ever created.

  18. Cedu86 says:


  19. yeesoo says:

    Let me try to keep these Japanese…

    For those of you who have been to China or somewhat familiar with Chinese vehicles, you may be aware of Jinbei, which is a company under the Brilliance group. Jinbei basically produces rebadged Toyota Hi-Ace vans (legally).

    I vote for one of their latest products, which is essentially a Hi-Ace camper van. It is called “Large Sea Lion Camper”.

  20. tkmedia says:

    mitsubishi mirage, mirage dingo

  21. Kev says:

    Mitsubishi Mirage XYVYX (how the hell do you pronouce that anyway)

    • Toy_yoda says:

      Now, be nice. Mirage is a decent name and I’ve owned 3 5th gen..

      But I will admit, XYVYX? Wish I could read that add. That thing is like a swiss army knife!!

    • Exiv96 says:

      The link you posted says it’s pronounced “Zye-Bixu”. And thank you for posting this, I didn’t know about that version of the C52 Mirage. Fitting the top-range Dohc 16V engine to a poverty-spec 2-seater van version was a rather strange concept. And the available accessories looked positively bonkers.

      Speaking about weird trim levels, how about Daihatsu’s Atrai Wagon Aerodown Billet Turbo, or the Beex Classic Licca with Happy Pappy ?

  22. ylee says:

    MAZDA FAMILIA!!!! worst name when trying to promote a sporty car. stupid stupid.

  23. Jo_tas says:

    Toyota MasterAce. Do i even need to elaborate?

  24. Camshaft says:

    How has nobody said Mitsubishi Lettuce yet?

  25. GEN2TWINCAM says:

    It has to be Mitsubishi’s TREDIA !

    Yea, I know. It relates to the three diamonds, but to me it always seemed like something you’d step in.

    “After you Tredia in that, you’ll want to throw out you’re shoes!”

  26. Geeb says:

    How abt Chery QQ..? What’s that even..? 🙂

  27. sammyd says:

    Daihatsu Scat. Literally means a peice of excrement

  28. Exiv96 says:

    Lots of mentions for the Three Diamonds here, but I’ll add one. The Mitsubishi Carisma. Simply because that car had none of it.

  29. Wagoneer says:

    I have to vote for the the Toyota ‘Picnic’ which was also sold in Denmark as a commercial van called the ‘Sportsvan’. I mean if it wasn´t already bad enough to be driving a soccer mum wagon, to then also have to tell people its a ‘Picnic’ is simply adding insult to injury. Truly an automotive castration if ever there was one.

  30. yoda says:

    Nobody’s even mentioned the Mitsubishi Delica (great name for a work van, that!) or the legend that Mr. K. personally pulled the “Fairlady” badges off the first 240Zs on Long Beach docks yet…

  31. Ken B. says:

    The Mazda Kei class truck, the Mazda Scrum, what a terrible name.

  32. Nate says:

    The worst Japanese car name is a toss up. And you guys that a bitching about the Nissan number cars are way off. The only two cars that are worthy of the high honor of worst name ever are… The Daihatsu D-Bag (for obvious reasons) or the Mazda Familia Interplay X. You might as well have called it the Mazda Incest Is Best, Put Your Sister To The Test.

  33. Kevin says:

    Nissan Homy. Looks like Nissan Horny.

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