Vehicle names distinguish models within a brand, but some automakers take naming to a new level. Some brands draw inspiration from Greek mythology, such as the Nissan Titan and Kia Seltos. And some monikers go down in history for the wrong reasons, like the Subaru Brat. Let’s not even get started on some of Ford’s dubious model names, like Probe, Fiesta, and Escort. But two brands — Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover — have vehicle names that are unmemorable and even confusing. For instance, Land Rover model names are long and almost always include “Range Rover.” Let’s compare both automakers’ awful naming systems.
Naming conventions for cars range from simple to weird
Some brands, like BMW, favor simplicity. The German luxury automaker designates its cars with a number (such as “5 Series”) and SUVs with an “X” plus a number (such as “X5”).
Volkswagen has implemented a new naming system for electric vehicles using “ID,” which stands for “intelligent design, identity, and visionary technologies,” preceding either a model name or simply a number, Car magazine reports.
Conversely, some brands, like Lincoln and Ford, choose more memorable names. Lincoln has the Aviator and Navigator, while Ford has the Expedition and Explorer, to name a few.
Then there are brands where the names are so confusing that even the employees get confused. Take, for instance, Cadillac, which shipped some cars with the wrong badges on them.
Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz have some of the worst model names
But Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz are two brands with some awful model names. Land Rover has model names that are ridiculously long and confusing, like the Land Rover Range Rover Velar and Land Rover Range Rover Evoque. But while those names might be a mouthful, they aren’t as confusing as Mercedes-Benz model names.
For starters, there are generally multiple ways to refer to one Benz model. For example, there’s the C-Class sedan, which can also be called a C 300 or C 300 4MATIC. Then there are the AMG C 63 Sedan and AMG C 63 S Sedan. Mercedes-Benz‘s SUVs also have some pretty confusing names. They include the GLA, GLB, the GLE, GLE Coupe, and G-Class. In fact, Cars.com even called Mercedes out on some of its monikers, adding them to a list of the worst industry names.
Do confusing and odd car names distract from the quality of the brand?
It’s fair to wonder if a confusing or poor choice of name distracts consumers from looking past the name to the quality of the brand. In theory, it shouldn’t. After all, a name is just a name, but the reality is often different.
Most people probably don’t want to own a car named “Brat” or “Probe.” But as far as Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz are concerned, names often don’t cause much distraction from the quality of these luxury brands. For example, the 2021 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque landed on a list of the most luxurious cars of the year. And Mercedes-Benz makes one of the most affordable luxury vehicles, the 2021 Metris, which is neither a car nor an SUV but a van.
So, which of the two brands has the worse naming system? It probably depends on whether you prefer the confusing letter system from Mercedes-Benz to the alliterative Land Rover models or vice versa. Either way, a name is just a name. But sticking with a simple number or letter system is better than coming up with names that end up on lists of the worst car names in history.