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Auto blogTue, 01 Oct 2013
What's in a name? This cliched phrase probably gets tossed out at every marketing meeting that happens when a new car gets its nomenclature. We know the answer, though: everything. The name of a car has all the potential to make or break it with fickle customers that are more conscious than ever about what their purchases say about them.
That's giving headaches to marketing folks across the automotive industry. "It's tough. In 1985 there were about 75,000 names trademarked in the automotive space. Today there are 800,000," Chevrolet's head of marketing, Russ Clark, told Automotive News. Infiniti's president, Johan de Nysschen, echoed Clark's sentiment, saying, "The truth of the matter is, across the world, there is hardly a name or a letter that hasn't already been claimed by one car manufacturer or another. You can go through the alphabet - A, B, C and so forth - and you will quickly see that almost all available letters are taken."
What has that left automakers to do? Get creative. In the case of Infiniti, it made the controversial move to bring all of its cars' names into a new scheme, classifying them as Q#0 for cars and QX#0 for SUVs and crossovers. So the Infiniti G, which was available as the G25 and G37, is now the Q50. The FX37 and FX50 are now the QX70.
Where else would you expect the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray to show up first? Although this time it isn't exactly in Jay Leno's Garage, Leno instead playing an away game at Brown's Classic Auto in Scottsdale, Arizona. Nor does Leno drive the car, instead taking an 11-minute walkaround of the new American sports car with General Motors design head Ed Welburn, the same man who recently brought by a string of classic Corvettes to the talk show host's California compound.
It is, admittedly, a love-fest for the American sports car now featuring 450 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque, but one that also features admissions about previous Corvette seats like "they were kinda rough," and the explanation that labeling the coupe "Stingray" means not having to call it "the base Corvette." On top of that, Welburn also explains the proper application of the term "dashboard." You can watch it all in the video below.
General Motors hadn't had a recall in India since 1995. That changed when it was discovered that certain employees were playing tricks with local emissions testing in order to ensure passing grades for engines. More than ten GM Powertrain employees in India and the US have been let go over the ensuing emissions flap, including Sam Winegarden, VP of global engine engineering, a man who has been with the company since 1969, leading development of some marquee powerplants.
According to Automotive News, an internal investigation revealed that employees "violated testing procedures," sometimes swapping specially prepared low-emissions engines during testing regimes for the Chevrolet Tavera SUV equipped with the 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter engines. Employees were also manipulating weights in order to get vehicles placed into different emissions categories. The discovery has led to GM recall the 114,000 Taveras produced over an eight-year period and halting their production and sale.
The Economic Times of India reports that the issue is due to "a faulty component." GM has developed a solution to the issue, and once it is validated in testing and approved by the Indian authorities, the recalled vehicles will be fixed at dealers and production will resume.