Column Date 2009-04-22

Don't be a Rogue, be a Felon

I was passed by a fellow driving a Nissan "Rogue" the other day.

And I started thinking about why we name things the way we do.

"Rogue" after all, is a really old-fashioned word -- a word that Will Shakespeare would have used.

And then I remembered the Jeep "Renegade" that parked next to me a few years ago. Out came a man dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and red tie, carrying a leather attaché case, on his way, no doubt to a corporate meeting. Speaking of wishful thinking.

The problem is, out-dated names like "Renegade" and "Rogue" simply do not cut it in our modern world.

With our economy in serious trouble, I think Detroit needs a bunch of new, more aspirational names to spur consumers to get out there and start buying cars again.

Here are my top-of-mind suggestions:

How about the Cadillac "Lobbyist"? It gives you instant status, since, as we know, lobbyists always flourish, no matter which party is in power.

Or, what about the Ford "Felon"? It's a compact car for those congressmen who get caught with their hand in the public pocket. (The Chevy "Mea Culpa" would give it a run for the money.)

Wall St. folks might be enamored by the trendy new Mustang "Unindicted Co-Conspirator" – which speaks volumes about being a survivor in tough times.

Some newly bankrupt citizens might have to trade in their Rolls Royces for the new Pontiac "Ponzi". (Note: if Pontiac had thought of this name a few years ago, I think they'd still be a major brand).

And the muscle car of choice would certainly be the new Dodge "Special Ops," implying the driver's membership in an exclusive, death-dealing, military group.

Let's not overlook names that come from modern sports.

In this category, we find the Buick "Tight End" – a large sedan that other cars instinctively shy away from.

The GMC "Wide Receiver," which can go 40 yards in 4.1 seconds.

The Saturn "Putter," an economical diesel car with a tiny engine.

And, last but not least, the Lincoln "Instant Replay," a traditional mid-size for forgetful drivers who often miss turns and get lost.

Got the idea?

I'm sure you can suggest some terrific names of your own. (Send them in! If I receive enough names, I'll print them in this column and you'll have your 15 minutes of fame!)

With a little fresh thinking, I think we can get Detroit moving again.

©2009 Peter Tannen