Modern Day Nomenclature w.r.t Automotive Industry
What goes through the minds of car makers while naming their products? Some may argue saying what is in a name but the buzz a name could create answers all the questions. The association between the buyer, name of the car and manufacturer can facilitate the smooth launch of the product and ease the branding process.
Recently Hyundai has started a campaign called “Naamkaran” to let people decide the name of their upcoming hatchback code named AH2. Y K Koo, MD and CEO of Hyundai Motor India said that the company has received a total of 4,00,114 votes. Out of this the name ‘Santro’ sits right at the top with 201,568 votes. Now it has to be said here that people were given a choice to choose their own names and there were quite a few other suggestions, but none were as popular. The other names were i5 which received 633 votes, Splash which got 443 and Saneon which acquired 426 votes. While we were quite sure that ‘Santro’ would turn out to be the hot favourite and the votes reiterated the same. The Santro was Hyundai’s first-ever car in India and was launched way back in 1999. This car was promoted by Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan, and soon became a household name in India. The company banks on its existing popularity of “Santro” brand to make a dent in the entry-level hatchback segment.
Companies have the habit of hanging on to names which they have already used in past. It is because many people remember that Baleno is Maruti product but not necessarily how it was. Even though the car was a flop, people still associate that name with Maruti, which as a brand has a good reputation. So, they need not invest again in marketing to familiarize people that Baleno is a Maruti product.
Building a brand name is a huge expense and unless the brand name got a really bad reputation sending negative vibes, companies don’t invest in changing the name. For the exact same reason, Tata changed the next gen Indica and Indigo to Bolt and Zest. Indicas and Indigos projected a perception that it was a taxi vehicle. A lot of family people have a prestige issue when they own a car that is used as a taxi. To change that, a new brand perception was required.
So, basically it all boils down to how damaging the name can be to the car sales.