The 15 Worst Car Names Ever!

If you love cars, it’s always exciting when a new model comes out. But a car has to carry with it more than just an attractive exterior and interior, reliability, and good fuel economy—it has to have a strong name. A memorable name.

Below are 15 car names that came across as strange, offensive, and odd. But we certainly remember them!

Suzuki Esteem
Debuting in 1995, this subcompact sedan was marketed as an affordable car without frills. It lasted seven years on the road before biting the dust in 2002. Known by different versions of the name around the world, the Suzuki Esteem sounded like a car to drive when you couldn’t reach for a self-help book. Not exactly empowering.

Daihatsu Charade
The French translation for charade is “a riddle.” It debuted on the market in 1977 and sold as a large compact to differentiate itself from other compact models. The Charade was immensely popular in Chile and other Latin American countries during the 1970s and 1980s, but the “charade” was up in 2000 when Daihatsu stopped producing the model.

Dodge Dart Swinger
We don’t know which part is funnier—the “dart” or the “swinger” part. This car was built by the Chrysler Corporation back in the early 1960s and the “swinger” part was added to the name two years after the Summer of Love. Be grateful they dropped the name “Beaver” from a fastback version.

Chevrolet Nova
The English translation for Nova is an exploding star. Urban legend has it the Nova (also known as the Chevy II) didn’t sell well in Spanish-speaking countries because they translated the word Nova to “no go.” This proved not to be true, as the Nova exceeded sales projections in Venezuela and it became a very successful car…with a weird name.

Subaru Brat
Most would reserve the word brat for a spoiled, unruly child, not a car. But this 4-wheel-drive mini pickup became extremely popular during the 1980s and early 1990s. The rear-facing plastic jump seats became known as deathtraps during accidents though.

Chevrolet Citation
Stop in the name of the law! We cite Chevy marketers for choosing a bad name for this compact car from the 1980s. It should have called the Disappointment, since it had a bad reputation for reliability and poor performance capability.

Ford Probe
Were Ford marketers thinking in invasive terms when they named this sporty compact back in 1989? We’d also like to probe the thinking that went into the intrusive-sounding endoscopic seats.

Studebaker Dictator
Studebaker introduced the Dictator back in 1927 hoping it would “dictate” a standard for excellence to the auto industry. But then a cranky guy named Adolf Hitler came along and…you can probably guess what happened. Studebaker’s Dictator was overthrown.

Volkswagen Thing
The lightweight German military vehicle was known in its homeland as the Type 181, but when it came to America in the early 1970s, it was renamed the Thing. We’re guessing the person responsible for the name change was maybe a fan of The Addams Family?

Ford Escort
Produced from 1981 to 2003, you might be tempted to think it was a car made to drive hookers around in. But this bargain priced sedan was actually very popular for young adults and families. No hooker sightings reported.

Some other cars that made our weird name list:

Ford Festiva
Daihatsu Taft/Scat
Ford Edsel
Chevrolet Cavalier