What's in a name? Chinese automaker GAC nixes 'Trumpchi'

GAC has long announced plans to be the first Chinese auto maker to enter the US market by the end of 2019.
GAC has long announced plans to be the first Chinese auto maker to enter the US market by the end of 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

DETROIT (AFP) - Chinese automaker GAC is changing the name of models it plans to introduce in the US market next year, because "Trumpchi" sounds too much like it's 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 (Jan 16) 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.