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Veloster? How About A Hyundai Zuma, Kona, or Pi Instead?

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Hyundai Veloster at Technical Center

Hyundai Veloster at Technical Center

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The 2012 Hyundai Veloster is coming to next month's 2011 Detroit auto show, and the Accent-based sports coupe has plenty of unusual features brewing for its world debut, with 2+1 doors, a dual-clutch gearbox and 40-mpg-plus fuel economy at the top of the list.

It's also likely at this point that "Veloster" is the final name for the car. Hyundai had wavered on the name, but the launch of a microsite with "Veloster" in the URL "pretty much" confirms the name is final, according to U.S. execs.

But how would you feel about it if the Veloster--which conflates "velocity" and "roadster," even though it isn't one--was a Zuma, or a Kona, or a π instead?

This summer, Hyundai showed slides of the new Veloster to a small group of journalists, and passed out a list of potential names that could replace Veloster, if need be. Some of them were winners--particularly Zuma and Kona, which sounded like perfect tie-ins with Hyundai's West Coast home and the youth market critical to the success of the new car.

Other names on the list? Just plain weird, from the clinical-sounding Aptiv to the math-challenged ones we can't even display properly on screen.

Notable among the omissions? "Tiburon," which was Hyundai's last front-drive coupe, but which Hyundai repeatedly has said will not be directly replaced by the Veloster.

As for the losing names, here's the list passed around Seoul, with some initial gut reactions I scribbled in the margins:

Zuma: "perfect name, sounds like a Mazda?"

Kona: "another great name, outdoorsy"

Aptiv: "withdrawn from clinical trials"

Strider: "sneakers. Cheap ones."

y2: "an SEO nightmare"

π: "count out all the potential women buyers"

Jvv: "? May as well name it WTF."

Raptor: "Ford already sells one, as you well know"

Instinct: "Basic Instinct=great in reviews, not great in practice. Insight?"

Veloster: "winner, but it's not a roadster"

Cyto: "Battlestar Galactica"

Cypher: "what is it? I don't know, you tell us?"

Rush: "bring out the keggerator"

 

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Comments (2)
  1. I have e-mailed my model "name" suggestion to Hyundai on multiple occasions. I, personally, don't believe that "Veloster" is the best name possible for this new model. When Hyundai has to repeatedly explain and justify the name to the average potential consumer, perhaps then, they may agree. As you had suggested very clearly, this new "coupe" is certainly not a "roadster". And, the blend of "velocity" and "roadster", to become "Veloster", simply sounds disjointed when a person first reads, hears, or verbally pronounces it. It has taken the majority of us following this project, the full sum of the past couple of years simply to become remotely comfortable with the name. A vehicle model name needs to be phonically comfortable for the average consumer to say, needs to have a clearly defined definition without excessive or repetitive explanation, and needs to look good in physical label, printed, and digital font form. When marketing a vehicle, or any product, the item "name", as well as first impressions derived from that name, can be a make or break element.
    My suggestion, and Hyundai was aware of it, is . . .
    "Hyundai Axis"
    (the center point of creation, movement, function, and momentum . . . )
     
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  2. I do, however, wish Hyundai the best success possible with the all new Veloster. This should truly be a tremendous vehicle within its given class, even if the quality of the model name is debatable. Thank you.
     
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