What’s in a name? Chinese automaker nixes ‘Trumpchi’

The GAC GA4 is unveiled at the GAC press conference during the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, in this January 15, 2018 photo. (AFP)
Updated 17 January 2018
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What’s in a name? Chinese automaker nixes ‘Trumpchi’

DETROIT: Chinese auto maker GAC is changing the name of models it plans to introduce in the US market next year, because “Trumpchi” sounds too much like its linked to President Donald Trump.
“The name will change for the US market to avoid the wrong connotation or misunderstanding,” a GAC spokesman told AFP on Tuesday at the Detroit auto show.
The Trumpchi models have been available in China for years, and the word actually means “legend” in Chinese, the spokesman said.
US media has previously reported that company executives had been deliberating over a name change.
GAC, which sells 500,000 cars in its native country and 13 others in Asia and the Middle East, has long announced plans to be the first Chinese auto maker to enter the US market by the end of 2019.
The company also plans to expand into Europe after trying to woo American consumers.
The cultural dissonance with its chosen brand name is something with which another auto maker can relate.
Tata Motors’ “zippy car” abbreviation Zica was an unfortunate choice in 2016 for its new hatchback sedan, considering it debuted as the World Health Organization declared the Zika virus a global health emergency.
The Indian company renamed it Tiago after making marketing lemonade out of a public relations lemon by holding an online renaming contest.


Move over, Elon Musk: Kalashnikov unveils ‘electric supercar’ to rival Tesla

Updated 23 August 2018
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Move over, Elon Musk: Kalashnikov unveils ‘electric supercar’ to rival Tesla

MOSCOW: Russian arms maker Kalashnikov on Thursday presented its new electric car inspired by a rare 1970s model, saying the new technology will rival Elon Musk’s Tesla.
The brand, best known for the AK-47 machine gun, presented the decidedly retro-looking pale blue prototype, the CV-1, at a defense expo outside Moscow.
The look was inspired by a Soviet hatchback model developed in the 1970s called “Izh-Kombi,” a statement on the Kalashnikov website said.
Holding company Kalashnikov Concern said it has developed some cutting-edge elements for the “electric supercar,” including a “revolutionary” inverter. The vehicle can travel 350 kilometers on one charge.
“We are developing our own concept of an electric supercar, which is based on several original systems developed by the concern,” the firm said.
“This technology will let us stand in the ranks of global electric car producers such as Tesla and be their competitor,” RIA-Novosti further quoted the Kalashnikov press-service as saying.
“We were inspired by the experience of global market leaders in developing our concept.”
Kalashnikov Concern has long been trying to expand its brand, recently launching lines of clothing and other civilian merchandise ranging from umbrellas to mobile phone covers.
Its foray into electric vehicles however was met with mixed reactions from Russians. Comments to the news on the company’s official Facebook page ranged from “cyberpunk” to “Izh-Zombie.”
“Your tanks are great, but it would be better if you stayed away from cars,” one user wrote.
Earlier this week, online users ridiculed Kalashnikov’s new bipedal combat robot. The golden-color machine, reportedly named “Igorek” in production stages, immediately became a subject of social media memes.
“Somebody had watched too much ‘Robocop’,” tweeted user happy__keanu, referring to the 1987 action film about a cyborg law enforcer.