Buick Mispronounces its Own SUV's Name

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Brandon Sommerville wrote:


Big difference: 'nova' is pronounced 'NO-va' and 'no va' is pronounced 'no-VA.'

Only when talking about a Yugo.
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Brandon Sommerville wrote:

Sure, and a lot of worse things.
However, in Mexico, the cheapest (and very popular) grade of gasoline is called "Nova." Do you suppose they buy it becasue it means, No Go?
I found a better explanation at http://www.borfl.org/chevrolet_nova.html :
"chevrolet nova : First of all, the phrase "no va" (literally "doesn't go") and the word "nova" are distinct entities with different pronunciations in Spanish: the former is two words and is pronounced with the accent on the second word; the latter is one word with the accent on the first syllable. Assuming that Spanish speakers would naturally see the word "nova" as equivalent to the phrase "nova" and think "Hey, this car doesn't go!" is akin to assuming that English speakers woud spurn a dinetteset sold under the name Notable because nobody wants a dinette set that doesn't include a table. Although "no va" can be literally translated as "no go," it would be a curious locution for a speaker of Spanish to use in reference to a car. Just as an English speaker would describe a broken-down car by saying that it "doesn't run" rather than it "doesn't go," so a Spanish speaker would refer to a malfunctioning automobile by saying "no marcha" or "no funciona" or "no camina" rather than "no va." Pemex (the Mexican government-owned oil monopoly) sold (and still sells) gasoline in Mexico under the name "Nova." If Mexicans were going to associate anything with theChevrolet Nova based on its name, it would probably be this gasoline. In any case, if Mexicans had no compunctions about filling the tanks of their cars with a type of gasoline whose name advertised that it "didn't go," why would they reject a similarly-named automobile?"
Ed
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On Fri, 09 Jan 2004 11:02:10 -0500, "C. E. White"

Good lord. *No one* is assuming that people would think that the car wouldn't go because of the name. It's just that *someone* down there who didn't like the car and who had a sense of humour (something that appears to be lacking up here!) would make the connection and laugh about it. If the car flopped it wasn't due exclusively to the name, but I'm sure that it played a small part.
Would the Mustang have been as successful if it was called the Swayback? Maybe, but I doubt it.
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On Fri, 09 Jan 2004 16:05:08 GMT, Brandon Sommerville

True enough. That's why I always thought it would have been funny if the Ford Expedition had been named the 'Clydesdale' instead.
DMN
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DMN wrote:

I think Clydesdale was intended for the Excursion.
Ed
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Brandon Sommerville wrote:

Irrelevant comparison. Nova in spanish is not derogatory. I can see your point about people making fun of the car after the fact - like people who call Explorers, Exploders.
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On Fri, 09 Jan 2004 13:07:42 -0500, "C. E. White"

Referring to it as "Doesn't go" is hardly complimentary.

If names weren't important then Acura would never have gotten rid of the Legend and Integra monikers, the Dodge Neon in Canada wouldn't be the SX, the Focus would still be the Tempo, etc, etc, etc...
While a name will probably never be the deciding factor in a car purchase it is certainly a subconscious factor.
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On Fri, 09 Jan 2004 16:06:12 -0500, David Levy

And no English speaking person would associate the term "Explorer" with "Exploder", yet it happens. Amazing, isn't it?
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Brandon Sommerville wrote:

You've conveyed the belief that due to similarities between the word 'nova' and the phrase 'no va,' the car's "bad name" resulted in ridicule among some Spanish-speakers/readers.
Now you're comparing this to a scenario in which a deliberate connection is made between two otherwise unrelated words. This can be done with *ANY* name, and has _nothing_ to do with poor judgment on the part of an automobile manufacturer.
One Usenet poster has referred to me (and many other people with the same first name) as 'Davidiot.' Does that mean that my parents selected an inappropriate name?
Has anyone ever called you 'Brandon Dumberville'? (which, FYI, I'm not doing) If so, does that mean that you have a "bad" surname?

That you completely ignored the bulk of my message? No, not really.
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On Sun, 11 Jan 2004 14:44:24 -0500, David Levy

Which it surely did. Those who didn't like the car would have made fun of it and added the significant space.

It shows how people can do anything with a name. The Nova's name is spelt almost identically to no va and thus the connection is easier. Would someone be confused by it? No. That doesn't mean that the connection can't be made.

No, it would simply mean that someone was reaching for a reason to discount any arguments made by the affected poster. Much like people looking for a reason not to buy the Nova might say "hey, if you tweak the name a little it just doesn't go!". The same way FORD is often referred to as "Found on road dead" or "Fix or repair daily". Hell, I knew a girl with a Chevette who referred to her car as the 'vette. She didn't do it seriously but she thought it funny when people believed that she had a Corvette. It's all in the name.

Because you were simply saying the same thing.
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nova means exploding star in Spanish just as it does in English

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Brandon Sommerville wrote:

Forget about emotions and dinette sets! I'm asking you if a typical English-speaker, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, would be likely to make such a connection -- likely enough that "Notable" would be a bad name for products or services in general. (Remember that it also contains the words "not able," a pejorative comment about any product or service.)
Would someone visiting http://www.notable.com/ be likely to mock "Not Able Productions"?
A quick check reveals that a nearby business is called 'Notable Music.' Do you suppose that this has caused problems for them?

Why isn't the word 'gullible' listed in the dictionary?
Obviously, you didn't bother to read the snopes.com article for which Brian Rodenborn kindly posted the URL.
"The one bit of supporting evidence offered to back up this legend is spurious as well. General Motors, we're told, finally wised up and changed the model name of their automobile from Nova to Caribe, after which sales of the car 'took off.' One small problem with this claim: the Caribe sold in Mexico was manufactured by Volkswagen, not General Motors. (The Caribe was the model name used by VW in Mexico for the car more commonly known in the USA as the Volkswagen Golf.) The Nova's model name was never changed for the Spanish-speaking market."

Of course they do, but that's irrelevant. People needn't be "emotional" about something to pass around a silly joke.

It wasn't, but that's of no concern to you. By all means, don't take the time to educate yourself on a subject. Just bury your head in the sand and believe what you want to believe.

No, of course not. They somehow managed to launch an automobile in Spanish-language countries without consulting a single person who understood the language.
Quoting the Urban Legends Reference Pages again:
"This legend assumes that a handful of General Motors executives launched a car into a foreign market and remained in blissful ignorance about a possible adverse translation of its name. Even if nobody in Detroit knew enough rudimentary Spanish to notice the coincidence, the Nova could not have brought to market in Mexico and/or South America without the involvement of numerous Spanish speakers engaged to translate user manuals, prepare advertising and promotional materials, communicate with the network of Chevrolet dealers in the target countries, etc. In fact, GM was aware of the translation and opted to retain the model name 'Nova' in Spanish-speaking markets anyway, because they (correctly) felt the matter to be unimportant."
http://www.snopes.com/business/misxlate/nova.asp

The sort of arrogance that you describe is precisely what keeps this ridiculous myth in circulation.

No, I hadn't. I had referenced the topics, but I was delving deeper.
But that's okay; you needn't think about anything that might burst your bubble!
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In part, Brandon Sommerville wrote:

Huh?! When did I claim that "names were not important"?!
The issue is whether or not 'Nova' was a poor designation for Spanish-language markets. 'Chevrolet Mierda' would have been an unwise choice, but the available evidence (which you refuse to accept) indicates that 'Chevrolet Nova' was not.

No! Are you seriously still harping on the "dinette set" analogy?

You continue to miss the point. I'll try this again:
"If not for this discussion, would you *EVER* have associated the word 'notable' with the phrase 'no table'?"
Forget about the concept of a product or service! In order for someone to deride something in this manner (be it an automobile model or a toothpaste brand), they first need to THINK of the play on words. The above question (which you've yet to answer) merely asks if you would have THOUGHT of the 'notable' = 'no table' (or 'not able,' for that matter) connection.

No, but that isn't a factor.

No, nor did I advance such a claim.
"Would an American company market gasoline under a name that could be construed as 'doesn't go'? Of course not, so why would a Mexican company do the same?"
I'm didn't "equate the purchase of an automobile" with that of gasoline. I merely addressed the latter.
If the likelihood existed for someone to misconstrue a word as the phrase 'doesn't go' (intentionally or otherwise), why would a company use that word as a name for its gasoline? (irrespective of the car that followed)
And again, Spanish-speaking/reading people approved the decision to market the 'Chevrolet Nova' in Spanish-language countries.

http://listings.ebay.com/plistings/list/all/category39 /
Of course, that has nothing to do with anything.

No.
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On Mon, 12 Jan 2004 13:30:59 -0500, David Levy

Since the car didn't flop then obviously it wasn't a bad choice of names. All that I've been defending was that the association would be an easy one to make for people who didn't like the car and were looking for an excuse to deride it.

*You* brought up the dinette set.

The amount of emotional appeal is what determines the amount of effort people put into mocking something. Dinette sets, toothpaste and gas all generate about zero emotional appeal. Cars generate an awful lot for some people.

It is if someone wants to make fun of a vehicle.

And, once again, how much effort are people likely to put into deriding a specific brand of gasoline?

And marketing people get it right every time? Witness the release of the Dodge SRT-4. "Up on stage, the company's new "director of product planning," a lanky dude with Euro sunglasses, tight-fitting shirt, and toque pulled tight over his head, hopped spastically around the bright-yellow car, not describing its features or technical specifications, but rather how it had him all "amped, yo yo yo", how the car rocked his world, man. Then, then-Chrysler Canada head Ed Brust got onstage and, on a huge computer terminal, logged onto the company's Web site and joined a chat session where many supposed enthusiasts "ad-libbed" positive, yo yo yo-laced comments about how much they wanted the new Dodge. " http://www.canadiandriver.com/articles/ly/04srt-4.htm

Just goes to show that there's a niche for everything, I guess.

It has everything to do with the case in point.

Then why are you getting so upset about it.
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In part, Brandon Sommerville wrote:

You stated that the car had been assigned a "bad name." I quoted this three times (once adding that you had implied "that the decision to retain the 'Nova' designation in Spanish-language markets was a poor one"), and you didn't dispute that this was your contention. In fact, you explicitly verified it:
: : You've conveyed the belief that due to similarities between : : the word 'nova' and the phrase 'no va,' the car's "bad name" : : resulted in ridicule among some Spanish-speakers/readers.
: Which it surely did. Those who didn't like the car would have : made fun of it and added the significant space.
You just conceded, so that pretty much wraps things up. Except for...

No, that ISN'T all that you've been defending. (See above.)

Actually, C. E. White was the first to mention the "Notable" example in the course of this discussion. I reiterated it, but I also attempted to explain to you that the "dinette set" element was unimportant. Unfortunately, you insist upon dismissing the entire analogy, purely on the basis of a dinette set's lack of "emotional appeal."
In any case, I have no desire to debate the fact that it's possible for someone to twist an innocuous product name into a humorous insult. I acknowledged that long ago.
All along, I've been debating your contention that 'Nova' was a "bad name" for Spanish-language markets. Apparently, now that you FINALLY recognize the fallacious nature of your supposed facts, you've decided to pretend that you never alleged this.
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If it helps any, I'd point out that, like the astronomical phenomenon for which it's named, once a Chevrolet Nova *has* exploded, it truly 'don't go' (No va.).
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! I crack me up! -- C.R. Krieger (Been there; drove that)
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On Mon, 12 Jan 2004 16:41:06 GMT, Brandon Sommerville

Clue: If a = b, and b is less than c, and c > d, then a can still be < or > d. Logic. I know it is difficult, but you should try it sometime.
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On Mon, 12 Jan 2004 14:31:11 GMT, Brandon Sommerville
Please don't start telling us of how AOL and Microsoft have announced a new virus that everybody should be careful of because it eats your computer....
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On Fri, 09 Jan 2004 16:05:08 GMT, Brandon Sommerville

Problem is, the car did not flop, it sold far better than expected.
Pretty much shows you are wrong.
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I have never claimed either way whether or not I believed it. I don't know enough about the sales history to make a claim either way. All that I have been defending was that it is likely that someone made the claim that it "Doesn't go".

How can I be wrong when I never made a claim either way?
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