Geographical distribution of motor vehicle model names

Back in the day, its seemed many motor vehicles with geographical model names tended to be of places east of the Mississippi, wealthy places, or of European locales. But, today, the largest number of referenced places and geography model names is from the American West. In fact, the only wealthy place name used for a motor vehicle name today is also an American West place name – Malibu.

Ford Torino – named for the Detroit of Italy (Turin) – Source: en.wikipedia.org

Very few European place names are still represented and zero auto-racing places are. The best educated guess for this bias is that automakers are producing and consumers are purchasing motor vehicles (often SUVs and light trucks) that are considered versatile and rugged – and what place better represents that image than the Old West.

Hyundai Santa Cruz – Source: carbuzz.com

Note: Those model names without dates listed are currently still in production. Also, in some cases a vehicle’s model name may fit into more than one category. Enjoy perusing the lists.

Prestigious or wealthy places (17):

  • Buick Riviera (1962-1990)
  • Chevrolet Bel Air (1950-1981)
  • Chevrolet Biscayne (1958-1975)
  • Cherolet Greenbrier (1961-1972)
  • Chevrolet Malibu
  • Chevrolet Monte Carlo (1969-2007)
  • Chrysler Aspen (2007-2009)
  • Chrysler Fifth Avenue (1984-1989)
  • Chrysler Newport (1940-1941, 1950, and 1961-1981)
  • Chrysler New Yorker (1939-1996)
  • Chrysler Park Avenue (1990-2005)
  • Chrysler Saratoga (1939-1953 and 1957-1966)
  • Dodge Aspen (1976-1980)
  • Ford Capri (1968–1986 and 1989–1994)
  • Lincoln Capri (1952-1959)
  • Mercury Capri (1962-1974)
  • Mercury Montclair (1955-1968)
Chevrolet Biscayne – Source: streetsideclassic.com

European places (25):

  • Buick Lucerne (2005-2011)
  • Buick Riviera (1962-1990)
  • Buick Verano
  • Chevrolet Corsica (1987-1996)
  • Chevrolet Monte Carlo (1969-2007)
  • Chrysler Alpine (1975-1980)
  • Chrysler Cordoba (1975-1983)
  • Chrysler Windsor (1940-1966)
  • Ford Capri (1968–1986 and 1989–1994)
  • Ford Granada (1972-1994)
  • Ford Torino (1968-1976) – see photo at top of post
  • Ford Verona
  • Ford Versailles (1954-1957)
  • Hyundai Cortina (1970-1975)
  • Lincoln Capri (1952-1959)
  • Lincoln Continental (1939–1948, 1956–2002, 2017–2020)
  • Lincoln Lido (1950–1951)
  • Lincoln Versailles (1977-1980)
  • Mercury Capri (1962-1974)
  • Mercury Milan (2006-2011)
  • Nissan Murano
  • Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais (1984-1991)
  • Oldsmobile Firenza (1982-1988)
  • Plymouth Cambridge (1951-1953)
  • Toyota Sienna (though spelled differently)

Places known for auto racing (7):

  • Chevrolet Monza (1975-1980 in USA – still being sold in China)
  • Chrysler Daytona (1984-1993)
  • Dodge Daytona (1984-1993)
  • Chrysler Sebring (1995-2010)
  • Dodge Monaco (1965-1978 and 1990-1992)
  • Pontiac Bonneville (1958-2005)
  • Pontiac LeMans (1962-1981)
Pontiac LeMans – Source: en.wikipedia.org

Places in the American West (42):

  • Buick Rainier (2003-2007)
  • Chevrolet Cheyenne
  • Chevrolet Colorado
  • Chevrolet Kodiak (1980-2009)
  • Chevrolet Chevelle Laguna (1973-1976)
  • Chevrolet Malibu
  • Chevrolet Montana
  • Chevrolet Silverado – Thanks, Dan (added 11/26/21)
  • Chevrolet Sonoma
  • Chevrolet Tahoe
  • Chrysler Aspen (2007-2009)
  • Chrysler Pacifica (2004-2009)
  • Dodge Dakota – Thanks, Dan (added 11/26/21)
  • Dodge Durango
  • Dodge Ram Laramie (added 11/29/21)
  • Ford Del Rio (1957-1958)
  • Ford Mustang (name of city in Oklahoma)
  • Ford Sierra (1982-1992)
  • GMC Yukon
  • GMC Yukon Denali
  • Hyundai Casper (sold in South Korea)
  • Hyundai Kona
  • Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Hyundai Santa Cruz – see photo after the second paragraph
  • Hyundai Tucson
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo
  • Kia Mohave
  • Kia Telluride
  • Mercury Monterey (1952-1974 and 2004-2007)
  • Plymouth Ventura (1960-1977)
  • Plymouth Ventura II (1971-1972)
  • Pontiac Bonneville (1958-2005)
  • Pontiac Catalina (1950-1981)
  • Pontiac Montana (1997-2009)
  • Pontiac Phoenix (1977-1984)
  • Renault Alaskan
  • Renault Laguna (1994-2015)
  • Subaru Baja (technically western Mexico)
  • Toyota Avalon
  • Toyota Sequoia
  • Toyota Tacoma
  • Volkswagen Taos

Other place references:

  • Buick LaCrosse
  • Chevrolet Captiva
  • Chevrolet Orlando (sold in China)
  • Chevrolet Traverse
  • Ford Everest
  • GMC Acadia
  • Kia Rio
  • Mercury Montego (1968-2007)
  • Packard Caribbean (1952-1956)
  • Packard Pacific (1954)
  • Packard Panama (?)
  • Plymouth Concord (1951-1952)
  • Plymouth Sapporo (1978-1983)
  • Subaru Outback
  • Subaru Tribeca (2005-2014)
  • Volkswagen Brasilia (1973-1982) (sold in Brazil)
  • Volvo Amazon (1956-1970)
Volvo Amazon – Source: classicdriver.com

Also, just to name a few general geographic terms being used currently for motor vehicle names include: Frontier, Tundra, and Ridgeline.

SOURCES:

This entry was posted in branding, business, Cars, cities, commerce, culture, fun, geography, historic preservation, history, pictures, place names, product design, shopping, Statistics, topography, toponymy, transportation and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Geographical distribution of motor vehicle model names

  1. Dan Tilque says:

    additions: Dodge Dakota, Chevy Silverado

    Note that Durango is also the name of a Mexican state. I expect the city in Colorado was named for it.

    I have a theory that when SUV and light truck marketers get stumped for a name, they get out a map of the western North America, from Mexico to the Arctic, and throw darts.

    Note to problogic: I have a couple ideas for columns. If you’re interested, drop me an email.

    Liked by 1 person

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