Do You Forget Your Car’s Name?

Thu 18th Feb 2021

Car buyers are much more likely to remember the name of a car model if it is named after a real word rather than a number according to new research.

A survey of 500 members of the British public asked them if they could remember the model name of a total of 253 car from 45 of the world’s most popular car brands and the findings revealed that real names were twice as memorable. The research, which has been put together by Vanarama began by asking respondents if they would recognise a car model if it drove past them, and by doing this they found that numbers and letter combinations were far less memorable.

For example, in the family car sector, those with real names had a ‘memorability rating’ of 43 per cent, compared to just 25 per cent for those alphanumeric models, and that 18 per cent drop off could be problematic in the car showroom when a customer is trying to remember the name of the car they saw on the advert.

The same study showed that the most popular way of naming a car brand was to name it after a famous town or city, with SEAT’s tradition of naming them after Spanish places proving popular.

Tesla’s method is slightly less orthadox, did you know that the Model S, Model 3, Model X and Model Y were named as they spell the word S3XY?

“Automotive nomenclature has always been a rather confusing subject,” said the Vanarama report. “Some brands opt to name their cars after places in Spain, such as Seat. Some name their cars to avoid rude translations in other languages, such as the Honda Jazz, and some brands such as Audi name their cars with what some might say is a rather dumbfounding array of alphanumeric.

“Cadillac has previously announced that they will be switching from their current alphanumeric naming system such as the CT6 and XT5 in favour of 'real names' such as the Escalade and Eldorado in 2022. This got us thinking. Does an array of letters and numbers make a car harder to remember than one that has a distinctive, unique name?”