Following part 1 of our series on language blunders companies have stepped into when entering new markets, we’ll look at more disasters that almost and did happen, mainly in the automobile industry.
Also, see part 3 for famous examples that never actually happened!
- Wikipedia maintain a long list of name changes from Isis due to the ISIS terrorist group.Cars (on Wikipedia):
- The Ford “Pinto” initially failing in the Brazillian market, meaning “male genitals” in local slang. They quickly renamed it “Corcel”, meaning horse or steed.
- The Honda Fit/Jazz. They ALMOST launched it as the “Fitta” before feedback gathered from multiple markets revealed the “Fitta” is a vulgar term for female genitalia in Swedish and Norwegian – essentially, “pussy.” Luckily the problem was caught early on.
- The Mitsubishi “Pajero” was renamed in Spanish speaking countries, where the word is a slang term for “masturbator”.Cars Not on Wikipedia:
- The Kia “Besta” in Brazil needing a rename because while it can mean “beast”, it can also be a derogatory term for an idiot.
- GM were caught in 2003 with just a year to spare, discovering the new Buick LaCrosse means “masturbator” in Quebec. They decided to keep the name anyway.
- Rolls-Royce almost released the “Silver Mist” in the 1960s, but switched to “Silver Shadow” as “mist” means “excrement” in German.
- The Tata “Zica,” announced in 2015 had to be changed to the “Tiago” after the outbreak of the Zika virus.