business

A minicar named Hustler? Japan's brand names raise eyebrows

34 Comments
By Sophie Knight

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34 Comments
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I used to wonder why they never bother to check if the English they use is correct or not, not only with food, but with signs, menus, instructions. etc. In a way I am glad they don't... it always makes me laugh when I find something new and makes for a good story to tell my family and friends back home.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I'll never forget pulling up behind a Mitsubishi Pajero with my Spanish speaking Venezuelan friend riding shotgun who had never seen one before. He sprayed his drink all over himself he was laughing so hard...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I wish I had a consulting job at these companies not only to supervise all new branding and advertising communications ..this partly must happen when people in many countries learn English in language schools or from expats and could benefit more from learning American language / culture and business practices. But whatever.. have a nice new year.. I am going to go eat a Plopp and drive around in my Hustler looking for chicks. FYI the car should be electric and have a name that honors the gift of the sun...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The Nissan Moco comes to mind. Moco means booger or snot in Spanish. I'm also glad they don't research names either.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Naivete and ignorance coupled with poor knowledge of Engrish.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I know! Pocari Sweat! I see this all the time in Canada - in the Chinese grocery stores. Who wants to drink sweat? That's nasty.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

A hustler can also be a male prostitute, but if the car is cute and sexy, no one will mind. [Grin]

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Hustler" is not so off the mark given the meaning of "one who moves or acts energetically or rapidly." There is company in the U.S. that makes and sells Hustler lawn mowers, riding mowers, etc. I think the name fits the car, if you take your mind out of the gutter.

The other examples (Pocari Sweat, Collon) have been trotted out ad nauseum for decades now...

6 ( +9 / -3 )

I think Japanese should use Japanese name for Japanese products instead of choosing name from other languages. The Company should be proud of being Japanese Company and show the world how Japanese words and name are beautiful and meaningful.

Even Chinese Company are using Japanese name for their products to enhancing their poor quality products image.

Not just Japanese Company using wrong foreign words and name in their products. Also I found and embarrassing for misusing English words in songs and books. I think they must learn actual usage of words and meaning if they wanted to borrow words from other languages. Otherwise, they should ask and get advice from language expertise.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The executive director at Inter-brand should be presented with a pink-slip, pronto!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Well, I suppose it's better than calling it the Suzuki Pimp.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Good idea. Let's have this brand available all over the world. The world need small car.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Is the chocolate bar called "Vessel in the Fog" still around? Despite the name, it was a great snack.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the funniest thing about this is how easy it would be to ask a native speaker. 5 seconds and you have your answer. i cant understand why they dont check. hubris i suppose.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

On the other hand 80393, I know many foreigners in Japan who are pranksters who joy in misleading Japanese about English and English speaking culture.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Foreign visitors might instead recall the sexually explicit magazine started by porn magnate Larry Flynt as competition to Playboy, or associate the word with obtaining money through illegal activities or vice industries.

Let them have their fun under their limited horizon.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

funny car- maybe, but i bet suzuki motor corp. have the resources to get a straight answer if they cared enough to check. personally, i like the name hustler. it reminds me of the '61 paul newman/jackie gleason movie. also reminds me of football and baseball practice. hustle up! porn is pretty far down the list of things it reminds me of.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The car name Hustler may have drawn smirks in the 70s, but is it even in business anymore?

I'd buy it if I didn't already have a Stella.

Pete Rose, Charlie Hustle, popped into mind when I heard the name.

I think Suzuki knows exactly what they are doing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just talking about this commercial and here it is on JT! It's not always a negative but they had a whole language of more positive words and terms to choose from so why use this?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It might be good to realize that the vehicles are being marketed to people who neither know nor care about Mr Flynt's skebe magazine.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

By the way, Hustler will be using by hustlers as drug courier Van.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

bit like Collon chocolate, and Calpis soda.. would you like some Collon with your Calpis sir!!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The Mitsubishi 'Pajero' jeep certainly raises some eyebrows amongst Spanish speakers :-)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Remember the Datsun Fairlady Z, that luckily never happened?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

But Japanese firms often fail to check if a name “travels” because of historical reasons, marketers say. “Japan really is an island nation, and was historically closed for a long time."

I don't buy this often trotted out excuse anymore. It may have had some validity before the internet was invented and some of the classic brand names such as "Calpis" and the milk powder "Creep" were dreamed up. All it takes now is for one marketing exec to do a Google search on the brand name they want to use and they can instantly see if it "travels" or not. With the world becoming so much more interconnected it makes more sense for even domestic markets, no matter how big, to think globally.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Pajero is still the one that gets me most - also means "rent boy" in Spanish........ Laputa also good in Espanol. The others are goodies. even the Nissan Cedric is worth a smile.

This was a pretty idiotic comment though -kind of explains the mentality of why the marketing folks are so ignaorant. “Japan really is an island nation, and was historically closed for a long time. Also, the domestic market is so big that companies can be successful without thinking globally,” said Masamichi Nakamura, executive director at global marketing firm Interbrand’s branch in Tokyo.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I did not know Pajero means beat off in Spanish before I read this article.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

By the way, I would not be surprised that Suzuki might just change the name in fairly short order. When even people in Japan realize the name Hustler is the name of a fairly well-known adult magazine from the USA, that type of thing could affect sales of the new vehicle.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It's not just Japanese companies that get car name wrong (for a global market). Ford Pinto in Spanis, Buick Lacrosse sold in Canada has an interesting meaning in Quebec slang.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@MapleG,

Chevy Nova, Ford Probe etc., etc.

This car isn't going to be marketed in anglophone markets anyway, so who cares?

Hustler as a car name rocks. It's fun and fresh. Well done, Suzuki!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Doesn't matter what name you choose it will be a bad word in one language or another, so it just show how stupid people are when it comes to thinking of the negative. Hustler may be the name of porn mag but why do we need to revert to the dirty instead of other more intelligent meanings

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Husler in Japan - at least it is not Japanesel;anguage. In USA, KIA is struggling to sell KIA. (Killed in Action in American English). Bette than naming Baishunfu for Japanese Market than KIA for USA market.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'd be surprised if more than a tiny percentage of westerners thought of Killed In Action when seeing a KIA car. I know I've never thought of that until you just said it. Our inclination is to read the word (kee-ah).

But I can tell you what I thought of immediately when I heard of a Hustler car! If I did I'd be censored by the mods though (see the article for more info).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Sttranger:: Trouble of KIA cars sales in USA is that there are too many Veterans in USA who are also superstitious. That and Hyundai ad commenters say Hondai as if it is Honda cars. Hustler will be pronouced :Hasuraa in Japan, I'd bet. They may look at their English Japanese dictionalry and select active or energitic in Japanese/ They may not know what is p.imp, etc in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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