Voices

The more you say it’s true, the less we believe you

When it comes to naming a new car, just because you call a car something, doesn’t necessarily make it so…

HERE IS A two-part pop quiz:

a) What do the following cars have in common:

  • Mazda MX-5;
  • Toyota 86;
  • Porsche Cayman and Boxster;
  • Porsche 911;
  • Nissan GT-R;
  • Nissan 370Z;
  • Lotus Elise;
  • Volkswagen Golf GTi;
  • Ferrari 488;
  • Honda Civic Type R; and
  • Subaru WRX STi.

b) What do the following cars have in common:

  • Discovery Sport;
  • Pajero Sport;
  • Camry Sportivo;
  • Jeep Cherokee Sport;
  • Jeep Wrangler Sport;
  • Volkswagen Jetta Sport; and
  • Lexus NX200T F Sport.

Answers: a) these are all sports cars with no ‘sport’ in the name, and b) none of these are sports cars but all have ‘sport’ in the name.

Now while ‘sport’ doesn’t strictly mean high-speed handling, it’s pretty much implied in the case of vehicles. So, the basic lesson here is that any vehicle with ‘sport’ in the name is unlikely to be a true sports car.

The same is also true of actual utility value. At car shows, the more mountainbikes on top of the roof, and the greater the use of attractive lycra-clad models unloading them next to a cliff at sunset, the lower the vehicle’s actual utility value.

It’s even true of sexiness. Honda describe the Odyssey as sexy. But do Alfa Romeo need to describe the 4C as sexy? They do not. It just obviously is.

Today’s lesson in car marketing – the more the car is described as having any given attribute, the less it actually has of that attribute.


Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper is a motoring journalist, offroad driver trainer and photographer interested in anything with wings, sails or wheels. He is the author of four books on offroading, and owns a modified Ford Ranger PX which he uses for offroad touring. His other car is a Toyota 86 which exists purely to drive in circles on racetracks, and that's when he isn't racing his Nissan Pulsar. Visit his website: www.l2sfbc.com or follow him on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RobertPepperJourno/