Izzy is a longtime online writer. She's a car enthusiast who loves writing about the industry.
Did you ever wonder how car manufacturers think up the model names for all of their cars? Sometimes they get it just so wrong. Here is a list of the top 10 funny car model names which you may or may not have heard of, but which should bring you a chuckle.
The problems car manufacturers have is that a word that sounds great in one language, can mean something completely different in another. It is even harder when that manufacturer itself does not speak English, never mind Spanish or French or even Mandarin Chinese.
Even when they pay multi-linguists to check names out for them, sometimes undesired words slip through. This is partly because there are many slang words in many languages that you will not find in a dictionary.
That could be why we have a Japanese vehicle called the Daihatsu Naked. I mean, come on what kind of name is that? No doubt whoever thought that one up had an entirely different meaning in mind. But it got lost in translation somewhere, and so we now have the option of taking the Naked out for a drive.
There are many such accidentally funny model names for cars, and I hope to explore some of them here.
List of Funny Car Model Names
- Mazda LaPuta
- Skoda Laura
- Mitsubishi Pajero
- Honda Fitta
- Nissan Moco
- Buick LaCrosse
- Toyota MR2
- Ford Pinto
- Hyundai Santa Fe
- Lamborghini Reventon
1. Mazda LaPuta
The Mazda Laputa is a smart little car, just great for driving about town and small enough for easy parking. Introduced in 1999 and retired in 2006, it is only available now on the second hand car market.
It's name is inspired by the book Gulliver's Travels by Jonathon Swift, and LaPuta (two words la puta) means prostitute in Spanish.
So maybe not so good for driving around town after all. A bit dangerous for a lone female on her own when stopped at traffic lights, I should imagine.
2. Skoda Laura
Skoda Laura is only named that in India.
Elsewhere it is known as the Skoda Octavia Mk2, and was only brought out in 2006 and is still in production today.
What a handsome car it is too!
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If anyone remembers the old jokes about Skodas, they must be smiling on the other sides of their faces now, however that is done.
Anyway, it would seem that the word Laura may not be eminently suitable in India. In Hindi, which is one of India's many local languages, Laura mean 'penis'.
Can you imagine the lady of the house ordering the butler in Hindi to take the car out for a ride?
3. Mitsubishi Pajero
Mitsubishi Pajero has several names depending on which country you live in.
I believe it is known as the Montero in the US and Spain and the Shogun in the UK.
But in the rest of the world it is known as the Pajero which is a Spanish slang word for wanker.
There must be a joke in there somewhere!
However, the Pajero has been around a few years and many Spanish people have seen the vehicle with this name with visiting Europeans driving through so they have probably stopped laughing by now.
4. Honda Fitta
Honda Fitta is another little about town cracker.
As you can see, it's a small compact car which is great for nipping through heavily congested roads and squeezing into tight parking spaces.
The one in the photo is called Fit, and in some places they are called the Honda Jazz. In general, Europe, Asia and Mexico have the renamed version.
Fitta in Swedish or Norwegian translates as cunt.
"Be back later darling, just taking the cunt out for a drive" !!
Similarly, the Mercedes-Benz Vito is also badly named. Vito means c*nt in Swedish too! Just how many words have the Swedish got for it? Are they fixated or something??
5. Nissan Moco
Nissan Moco would only be mildly embarrassing in Spain if this car had been released there.
Fortunately this wonderful looking little about town car was only ever released in Japan itself.
No doubt Spanish visitors to Japan would have been tickled pink!
Moco in Spanish mean booger or snot.
A lot of the vehicles here have model names that translate badly in Spanish, but when you consider that Spanish is spoken by a massive 300 million people in the world, and is in fact the third most widely spoken language, then this is a pretty massive mistake.
6. Buick LaCrosse
The Buick LaCrosse has a similar problem.
LaCrosse is a unique french word meaning "a teenage masturbator" apparently.
Maybe it is la crosse rather than Lacrosse.
It also means "to trick someone" which isn't so bad, though whether you would trust the salesman who sold you a Buick LaCrosse is another matter!
7. Toyota MR2
The Toyota MR2 is a sporty little number whose production stopped in Japan in 2007.
It certainly looks classy and fast. It is actually a two door, mid-engine, rear wheel drive sports car that most of us would love to own.
MR2 is pronounced em-air-de in French which is just too similar to merde which means shit. Oops!
NOT what you want a car described as!
Toyota solved the problem by selling the car in France and Belgium as simply Toyota MR.
8. Ford Pinto
The Ford Pinto had an unfortunate time of it. Now out of production, it was built by the ford Motor Company in the years 1971 - 1980.
It has numerous design and safety faults, not least its fuel tank system which was liable to burst into flames after even a minor collision. It also won prizes for being the ugliest as well as one of the worst cars of all time.
However, the Pinto is famous in Europe, especially Portugal, which its name translates as slang for penis. Which might have been right.
The people of Brazil also speak Portugese.
9. Hyundai Santa Fe
Hyundai Santa Fe is a brilliant looking car and is in fact Hyundai's best selling SUV in the US.
Such is its safety record that it tops the 'cheapest cars to insure' lists.
On top of that it is comfortable, economical and incredibly good-looking.
Unfortunately, its name Santa Fe in Arabic means "smells bad", while in Korean it means "to beat up".
10. Lamborghini Reventon
The Lamborghini Reventon is right at the very top of any car range.
Sleek and beautiful and packed with innovative design engineering, it is a car you need to be super rich to own.
It is a status symbol of the highest order.
Only 20 of those cars have been built to sell, each with a price tag of $1.31M and they have followed Lamborghini's tradition of naming it after a raging bull. This Reventon killed Mexican bullfighter Félix Guzmán in 1943.
A little bit unfortunately, Reventon in Spanish means 'flat tire'.
I hope you enjoyed reading the top 10 list of funny car model names, and if you can think of any more, please put your ideas in the comments section below.