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Sunday, October 30, 2005

The "Enclave"?

Suppose you are in the marketing department of a gigantic manufacturing company that is floundering under the weight of old products and sinking market share. Your engineers design new products, and you announce that you are ready to fight your way back to glory with them.

Do you name your new cross-over SUV's "Outlook", "Acadia", and "Enclave"?

Do some word association games. What comes to mind?

Buick Enclave. Ethnic enclaves. Srebrenica. Being surrounded. I imagine that GM was shooting for exclusivity with this name, but they tried too hard. I don't know if other people get a positive association from Enclave, I certainly don't. And the car doesn't look like an enclave, it looks like an overfed tiger, or a carnivorous jelly bean.

GMC Acadia. (blank...) Acacia? Trees? Some town in Pennsylvania? What does this have to do with GMC? Shouldn't a GMC have a tough name, like "Stumpmuncher" or "Towmaster"or something? Or something that evokes rugged wilderness, like Serengeti?

Saturn Outlook. Email. Microsoft. Weather forecast. This one is really dumb--most of the middle class and upper middle class GM is targeting with this vehicle will make the email association. Here's an idea: since the brand name is Saturn, how about using an astronomic name, like Io. Or Titan (oops). Pathfinder (nope). Transit... Galaxy... Rover... Explorer... Voyager... rats. Never mind.

If I was in charge, I would have named the Buick Acadia, and the GMC Chesapeake. The Saturn crossover could be called Endeavor* Apollo.

*Sorry, I don't know the names of all of Mitsubishi's products. I am impressed that anyone does.


spider rick said...

Endeavor, doesn't Mitsubishi make a truck called Endeavor? Yeah, can't use that one either.

The Auto Prophet said...


Ray said...

Go into a Japanese car dealer and mispronounce a few of the car names and the salesman or your wife will probably correct you. How can they correct you when most of the models have nonsense names made up by a marketing guy and no recognized pronounciation or meaning in the English language?

Swade said...

In Australia, the Holden Apollo of the late 1980's was a rebadged Toyota Camry.

This post just reaffirms why I prefer the Euro method of numeric nomenclature for vehicles. It's so much less to think about. I mean, how much do they pay for someone (or some team of someones) to come up with these names?

Geoff said...

I like the astronomy theme. Saturn has 49 moons, go with that. Unfortunately, as you mentioned, the largest, Titan is taken. But there's Calypso, Hyperion, Pandora(!), Janus, Atlas, etc. Sure some of the names are obscure, but who the hell knows what a Camry, Sentra, or Azera is?

sh said...

Enclave - reminds me of the dentist. I guess they're looking for the older crowd who appreciate sterilized instruments.

Acadia - don't they come out once every seventeen years to die?

Outlook - Well, yeah, keep this up and they're sure to be on the outside looking in.

Nearly as dumb as the "LaCrosse"

More "abstract thought" brought to you by some orange-haired liberal arts student.

The Auto Prophet said...

Heh. You mean "autoclave", "cicada" for the bug. I hadn't thought of those.

sh said...

Yeah, you're right. The "Cicada" - the bug - would be better suited for the Outlook - the "people's car".

"Serengeti" would be a logical transition in the Safari line, but the name's been taken by Safari Motor Coaches.
Now that they've forsaken the southwest "Scottsdale" thing, and the wild north "Yukon" and "Denali" they should go "suburban" and call it the "Clinton" (Not sure, but I think that's a Detroit suburb).

I'm so confused!$#&^
Swade's got the whole thing right.


When the "Enclave" arives, you will indeed see the similarity to the Oldsmobile concept vehicle called the 'Profile'. Since I purchased all the cool and larger-sized 'Silhouette' and Oldsmobile Rocket emblems from my Oldsmobile dealer two years ago, the new Buick will actually become a 2008 Silhouette. New billet-carved grille, wheel center caps, steering wheel cap and other markings will all shout "OLDSMOBILE"....

Anonymous said...

I agree the names are bad, and GM would do better to pick names from the past. I.E. Buick could use Centurion or even SportWagon. Either has to be better than Enclave.

GMC could use Safari, as the Safari van is recently departed, and there is a connection to the Pontiac Safari wagons (not just the '55'-57's, but all their wagons up to 1989). Besides, GMC and Pontiac marketing and dealerships are tied together.

As for Saturn, I like the Apollo suggestion. Aside from the Holden usage, it also was the Buick version of a Chevy Nova from 1973-75.