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Mitsubishi mum's the word


While a rose by any other name is supposed to smell as sweet, there's a whiff of weird to some of the bizarre car names manufacturers dream up.

The Mum 500 is far from being the only example of what an obviously fevered marketing brain thinks might be an attractive label.

Joining it in the cheery Mitsubishi family was the Chariot Happy, while Suzuki has also dipped into the smiley juice with the Every Joy Pop Turbo. Honda launched a Joy Machine and Toyota had the Estima Lucida G Luxury Joyful Canopy.

Was it an after-effect of the ubiquitous smiley symbol? Or could a hint to what was in the water cooler at the time be found in the hippie-flavoured Mitsubishi Mini Active Urban Sandal?

Human body parts have also been an inspiration and an indiscretion. There was the innocuous Nissan Big Thumb and Ford Synus and Daihatsu's revealing Naked.

Mitsubishi's blunder with Pajero (Spanish for err, self-pleasure) was matched by Honda's Fitta and Opel's Ascona, words for female genitalia in Swedish and Spanish.

Spanish also offered pitfalls for Mazda's La Puta, translated as “the prostitute”, while Toyota's Fiera was “hideous old crone”.

The light commercial segment also tried to enhance a vehicle's utilitarian base with an expressive name. You can understand the thinking behind Mazda Bongo Brawny and perhaps even Bongo Friendee and Mitsubishi Canter Guts. But Isuzu takes it to peculiar extremes with the Giga 20 Light Dump.

But no matter what language you try to translate them into, others are simply incomprehensible and illogical, like the Suzuki Van Van.