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Hustler anyone? Top 10 worst car names

2013-12-27 08:12

WHAT’S IN A NAME? Suzuki hopes its new Hustler will invoke images of agility on the road and not nude models posing in an adult magazine. Image: NEWSPRESS

Suzuki had no idea that the name "Hustler" for its new boxy model, aimed at Japanese customers, might cause mirth among English speakers for its association with an adult magazine - but it's not alone.

Plucking words from foreign dictionaries without checking how they might be received by native speakers appears to be a habit of Japanese automakers, which have produced countless products with unintentionally unsavoury names.


The name Hustler was chosen to "invoke the image of agility," as well as invite nostalgia from customers who remembered an off-road motorbike released in 1969 called the Hustler 250, said a Suzuki public relations officer.

Foreign visitors might instead recall the sexually explicit magazine started by porn magnate Larry Flynt as competition to Playboy, or associate the word with obtaining money through illegal activities or vice industries.

The Hustler follows a string of other Japanese cars to bemuse speakers of foreign languages, such as the Daihatsu Naked in 2000 and Isuzu's 1983 Bighorn.

The Hustler and its coupe variant were revealed at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show. According to Suzuki: “This is a stylish yet practical design with plenty of SUV touches, combining an exterior that looks like it belongs in the outdoors with a roomy, comfortable, and useful interior.

"The Hustler Coupe is a concept model that adds further design variation of a coupe silhouette.”


Spanish speakers were taken aback by Mazda's Laputa, a derogatory word for sex worker, while Mitsubishi sold its Pajero model as the Montero in Spanish-speaking countries, as the former is slang for sexual self-pleasure.

Executive director of global marketing firm Interbrand's, Masamichi Nakamura, said: "Japan really is an island nation, and was historically closed for a long time. Also, the domestic market is so big that companies can be successful without thinking globally."

Check out our Top 10 worst car names:
1 Ford Probe
2 Geely BL (Beauty Leopard)
3 Datsun Fairlady
4 Honda That’s
5 Isuzu Mysterious Utility Wizard
6 Studebaker Dictator
7 Mitsubishi Delica Space Gear
8 Isuzu Giga 20 Light Dump
9 Renault Twizy
10 Toyota Deliboy

Special nominees for worst car names:
Renault DeZir
Mitsubishi Pistachio
Volugrafo Bimbo
Suzuki Hustler
Daihatsu Naked
Nissan Prairie Joy
Suzuki Cappucino
Rickman Space Ranger
Honda Life Dunk

Do you have any "worst car names" to add to our list? Email us or share your thoughts in our Readers' Comments section below.
Read more on:    isuzu  |  mazda  |  suzuki  |  tokyo  |  japan  |  cars

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