5 of the Worst Car Names in U.S. History

Looking back, there’ve been a host of new car introductions. There have also been some iconic vehicle names, many of which have incredible reputations. Classic titles like the Mustang, for example, send a message of unbridled power. Even Elon Musk’s Tesla brand signifies genius engineering. At the same time, the Model S moniker nods to the introduction of the revolutionary Model T. When consumers go car shopping, they take everything about a vehicle into account, including its name.

But sometimes automakers get it wrong. A vehicle will come on-stage with new features, better performance, and jaw-dropping style, but it bears a name that’s just plain awful. And in the end, nobody wants to drive a car with an embarrassing moniker. There have been plenty of automaker naming mistakes, from high-end luxury cars to economy-level entries. There are so many, in fact, that we already covered some of the most ridiculous car names in U.S. history. But a recent list published by autoNXT has inspired us to add five more. Here they are.

The General Motors Impact

Why in the world would anyone name a car after a term synonymous with crashing? In the mid-1990s, General Motors did just that when it rolled out the prototype electric car called the Impact. And splash it did, right down the toilet. Though electric vehicles are becoming a hot commodity these days, back then, the last thing drivers wanted to have was an Impact, literally.

The Ford Aspire

In the ’90s, Ford debuted a car it thought would do great things. So much so, the automaker gave it a lofty name: Aspire. This tiny Kia-built car came with few amenities and a weak four-cylinder engine that managed a yawn-worthy 0-to-60 mph split of 16 seconds. The little sedan hoped for big things, but those who drove it only hoped they could drive something else.

The Daihatsu Charade

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Daihatsu was a small Japanese company that sold cars stateside from 1988 to 1992. One of its subcompacts was oddly named the Charade. It was basic, with a puny three-cylinder engine, and Americans weren’t impressed. This car didn’t live up to its cuteness, proving its unfortunate name prescient. 

Renault LeCar

You can add “Le” in front of pretty much anything to make it sound kind of French or, in some circles, posh and upscale. That’s what Renault thought when it introduced LeCar. Not only were consumers not amused by the name, but the word “car” in French actually means bus. And this tiny, boxy, and lackluster car was the complete opposite of a bus. The LeCar quickly became LeFlop.

The Subaru Brat

Subaru tends to be a pretty strong consumer-connected brand. But someone missed a meeting at corporate when the automaker introduced the Subaru Brat. “Brat” was actually an acronym for “Bi-Drive Recreational All-Terrain Transporter,” and it was a pretty solid vehicle upon release. But with a name like that, it was almost destined for failure. Whether you chose to pronounce it as you would when referring to an annoying child or as you would a German sausage, who wants to drive something named for either?

Believe it or not, you can still find a few of these models with awful names for sale. Some car enthusiasts even collect these retired and failed rides. It proves that no matter how revolutionary or outstanding a vehicle is, a bad name can send an automaker back to the drawing board.