Volkswagen’s Spanish division Seat is asking people to help it find a name for its new full-size SUV which is due to debut in 2018.
“Finding the perfect name isn’t easy. It needs to have a unique personality that represents us,” the company said on its website.
Entries will be accepted up until June 22 and people are being asked to vote on the finalists between September 12 and 25 so that the the new moniker can be revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
Seat says the only rule in the competition is that the name be connected in some way with Spain. “Tell us where you have lived your best moment in Spain – it could be a town, a river, a monument – and make it memorable,” said Seat.
Seat boss Luca de Meo said the name-seeking initiative was a “completely new way of getting fans of the brand involved in name-finding from start to finish.”
Asking the public to name a new car is an unusual move in the automotive world. The choice is usually left to think-tanks and agencies made up of experts who try to find a name that will work worldwide.
Marketing disasters in the past have included the Mitsubishi Pajero. The word is Spanish for “jerk” and no self-respecting Spaniard would have been seen driving the car. The nameplate was dropped for Spanish-speaking markets.
Rolls-Royce also shelved a plan to use the name “Silver Mist” for a plush limousine since “mist” means “manure” or “rubbish” in German.
Iconic car names include the VW Golf, which is named after the gulfstream and not the game with clubs, and the horse-inspired Ford Mustang, which evokes the power and dynamics of the actual car.
Some carmakers like BMW play it safe with number designations and Seat has opted in the past for made up names which sound neutral and decrease the risk of being slang terms in a particular language.
The Seat’s current SUV is the Ateca and the new compact SUV in the pipeline is dubbed the Arona.