Car Names & History21 Sep 2013
Marie Antoinette once said “there is nothing new except what has been forgotten”.
I thought of this quote this week when Ford unveiled it’s new ‘Vignale’ car this week at the Frankfurt Auto Show.
I was curious about the derivation of the name. Approximately 3.2 seconds later (thank you, wikipedia) I discovered that ‘Vignale’ was a famous Italian automobile coachbuilder company. Carrozzeria Alfredo Vignale was established in 1948 at Via Cigliano, Turin by Alfredo Vignale in Grugliasco, near Turin.
This revelation in turn took me on a trip down memory lane – 24 years to be exact – to my very first Naming job. July 1989. I was interning at Interbrand for the summer. I remember sitting in a brainstorming meeting trying to create ideas for a new luxury car division to be spun off from Mazda.
The idea of a spin-off marque was a defensive strategy to enable it to compete with other spin off brands: Acura, Infiniti and Lexus.
The eventual name Mazda selected was AMATI. Derived from the last name of a family of esteemed violin makers between the 16th and 18th century.
After we’d finished the AMATI branding program including a beautiful logo (designed by Creative Director Q. Malandrino) and a comprehensive brand roll out program, Mazda scrapped the program due to concerns about the massive investment it would take to create a new spin-off brand.
Finally, in 1993 the first ‘Amati’ vehicle emerged, except the name was changed to Millenia (in the US) and launched under the Mazda marque.