/ Motoring

Vauxhall Adam Glam – car naming gone wrong

Vauxhall Adam

When Enzo Ferrari named the stunning Ferrari Dino after his son who tragically died at the age of 24, the name became an icon. Half a century later, Vauxhall’s used a similar philosophy with its latest model…

The only problem; his name was Adam. The Vauxhall Adam, named after Adam Opel who died over a century ago, is a premium supermini that will compete against the Mini, Fiat 500 and Audi A1.

The design is fashionable, allowing owners to personalise their Adam with over a million variations of trim and colour combinations. Though some people think all of these optional extras are a bit over the top. It’s a car that’s been penned to attract youthful buyers, but I have some issues with how the car name will impact on how desirable it will be.

What’s in a car name?

Personally, I think a name can denote a lot about what a car is all about: Ford Mustang suggests power; Alfa Romeo Giulietta signifies elegance; and Skoda Superb professes it might be a decent car. What Vauxhall Adam might represent is a little beyond me – answers on a postcard please.

I know many will say, ‘a car’s name doesn’t detract from whether it’s good or not’, but surely it’s an obvious banana skin to avoid? It’s a little like calling your dog John – it just doesn’t work.

And the outrageous naming strategy doesn’t end at Adam. Three specifications will be available: Jam, Glam and Slam. And if ordering an Adam Glam doesn’t make you wince, wait till you hear some of the colour names. I’ll list some below for your entertainment:

Greenspotting, I’ll Be Black, Red ‘n’ Roll, White My Fire, James Blonde, Men In Brown, Carbon Flash, Mojito, Funny Park, Very Berry, Guacamole, and my personal favourite, Pappa Don’t Peach.

Forgive me for my pessimism, but I’m not sure if I’d be able to forgive myself if I walked into a Vauxhall showroom tomorrow, sat down at a salesman’s desk and uttered the words: ‘I would like to buy a Vauxhall Adam Jam in Pappa Don’t Peach, please’.

It also got me thinking about how this car naming recipe would work for other brands. The Lotus Colin (Colin Chapman), Mercedes-Benz Gottlieb (Gottlieb Daimler) and Saab Tyrone (Tyrone Bledsoe) are among my favourites.

My question is, would the naming obscurity of the Vauxhall Adam put you off buying one?


IKEA has done very well by selling inexpensive products with silly names (at least to English speakers), taking attention away from the fact that many of them are mediocre.

If Vauxhall had chosen a more ‘sensible’ name for the car and the models available, it would just have been another small car competing against all the others. It has already generated a lot of publicity for Vauxhall and how many other new products have generated two Which? Conversations within a week?

Even if the car is no more popular than the Sinclair C5, it is likely to get people into dealerships and possibly go away with a new Corsa with a fancy paint job.

Mercedes (the German equivalent of Grace) was the daughter of Emil Jellinek, one of Daimler and Benz’s first and most important customers. I wonder how different the company’s history might have been had she been called something less exotic. Can’t really see people falling over themselves to be seen in a Doris CL or a Gertrude Convertible (apologies to anyone reading called Doris or Gertrude) but there again one of Ford’s most popular models was named after a type of prostitute.

A Ford Henry would look rather good on the drive, unless it looked too much like a vacuum cleaner. Reliant got it right with their three-wheeler as it went bobbing along.

I think Benz owe a Joplin to Janis, and I’d sure buy a Triumph Brando motorbike, but, don’t ask me why, I wouldn’t buy a vehicle called Janis or Marlon. Vauxhall Adam? Naaah, doesn’t work either.

Is it culture, current fashion, individual preference? All of the above?

If it was built in Holland would it be a Vauxhall Edam?

Adapt name ‘cos it looks very cheesy to me!

Anyone remember the Nissan Cedric from a few years ago? I don’t think it sold very well. Possibly it was not a very good car, but the name can’t have helped.

Mr Iain says:
17 November 2012

Remember it well – mostly seen on Chinese roads (when Japanese cars were perhaps a little more popular there….). Also recall seeing a VW “Passta” on those shores.

Well with Renault naming their car Wind, nothing would surprise me in a car’s name

Adapt name as it looks very cheesy to me!

Mr Iain says:
17 November 2012

The Toyota MR2 was also rather unpopular in France…. can’t think why.

CarStanleyBaines says:
29 August 2020

“Ferrari” Dino ??? Dino was a marque not a Ferrari model.