Every now and then an announcement at a motor show will make you wonder, "What are they thinking?" Such thoughts I had yesterday at the Paris motor show when Vauxhall announced the colour and trim names for the new Vauxhall Adam.
S, SE and Sport, and white, yellow and brown were out; Jam, Slam and Glam, and Saturday White Fever, James Blonde and Men in Brown were in instead. Eh?
Opel's marketing man Volker Brien explained all. A team of six to eight people, mainly young, female and from Opel's PR, marketing and design departments, are the ones responsible for the names. Brien admits doubts were raised in "open discussions" about the trim names, but the firm went with it as they help give "real character" to the car.
It was decided that with a name as bold as Adam — a name Brien admits "definitely polarises opinion, but the reaction has been 99 per cent positive" — that the usual trim level and equipment names wouldn't cut it and an Opel Adam SE in white didn't quite have the same ring to it as an Opel Adam Slam in Saturday White Fever.
"It was quite a clear brief," he told me. "Once we had defined a strong name we couldn't stop there. Not giving everything its own individual name would not be doing the car justice."
But does he see it as a risk to have such cringeworthy names in a segment where style and 'cool' mean everything? "When you take a chance with a car like Adam, you have to be bold with everything," said Brien. "You have to go through with it. We've thought it through and being so bold with everything is logical."
He admits there will be problems. Some markets aren't keen to take the names, and there are problems with translating it into other languages with different alphabets such as Russian. "But we have to live with it now," said Brien.
But he is also "prepared to explain to anyone" who doesn't 'get' the Adam what it's all about. In practice, though, explaining to dealers and making sure they get the car and sell its appeal and positioning properly will be the key to the Adam's success.
I think I 'get' the Adam. Odd name, sure, but you soon get used to it, like anything. Corsa underpinnings are sure to mean it'll be good to drive, and its particular style of customisation gives it a more masculine appeal than, say, a Fiat 500. I also 'get' the logic behind the colour option names, but that doesn't mean I'm endeared to them.
As ever, it'll be the market that decides.