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
word "nova" are distinct entities with different pronunciations in Spanish: the
is two words and is pronounced with the accent on the second word; the latter is
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,
car doesn't go!" is akin to assuming that English speakers woud spurn a
sold under the name Notable because nobody wants a dinette set that doesn't
table. Although "no va" can be literally translated as "no go," it would be a
locution for a speaker of Spanish to use in reference to a car. Just as an
speaker would describe a broken-down car by saying that it "doesn't run" rather
it "doesn't go," so a Spanish speaker would refer to a malfunctioning automobile
saying "no marcha" or "no funciona" or "no camina" rather than "no va." Pemex
Mexican government-owned oil monopoly) sold (and still sells) gasoline in Mexico
the name "Nova." If Mexicans were going to associate anything with theChevrolet
based on its name, it would probably be this gasoline. In any case, if Mexicans
compunctions about filling the tanks of their cars with a type of gasoline whose
advertised that it "didn't go," why would they reject a similarly-named
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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."
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
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
And again, Spanish-speaking/reading people approved the decision to
market the 'Chevrolet Nova' in Spanish-language countries.
Of course, that has nothing to do with anything.
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. "
Just goes to show that there's a niche for everything, I guess.
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
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.
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'
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! I crack me up!
(Been there; drove that)
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
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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