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Car Names & History

21 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.

Who knew?

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.


POSTED BY: want | IN: Blog
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