When it comes to naming cars, “everyone has an opinion,” says Mark LaNeve, GM North America’s VP of sales, service and marketing. It’s his team that is in charge of proposing names for GM’s vehicles – a job that comes with its fair share of second guessing. “When we propose a name…we have to research it – we have agencies – because I know everyone is going to puke all over it when I tell them…I’m used to taking the abuse.” For instance, LaNeve said that there were some top executives that hated the name Enclave for the Buick brand. Now that the Enclave is a hit and the vehicles are flying off dealer showrooms, no one is looking back. LaNeve explains that it’s the vehicle that makes the name, not the other way around. “The Escalade is a made up name…nobody liked that either”
I asked if he ever had any trouble coming up with the names for the HUMMER models – after all, not TOO much thought went into H1, H2, and H3 right? “It’s pretty easy,” said LaNeve. “We played around with giving them names, though…like Moab…things like that, that connote the real off-road characteristics of the vehicle.” There’s no word on whether or not HUMMER will look into changing their vehicle name strategy in the future, but for now the technique has worked pretty well. However, I predict HUMMER will be making a pretty major shift in the next few years – and we may see HUMMER use new names to differentiate their new products.