Carmakers ask 'what’s in a name?' as they enter Chinese market

While eyebrows were initially raised by British carmaker Lotus's grand plans for expansion into the Chinese market, they went even higher when it was revealed its cars would be released there under an entirely different name.

Lotus has designs on opening 25 dealerships across China in the next three years but the Lianhua name (which is Chinese for Lotus) is already being used by the Youngman Automobile Group after a deal was struck with Group Lotus back in 2006.

It probably made good business sense back then, and, ever since, Youngman has been labeling a range of Lianhua cars in the Chinese market's lower end (at about 100,000 yuan or 11,000 euros each). But Group Lotus wants no connection to now be made between those cars and theirs at the very high end of the market and so have opted to brand their Chinese cars Lutesi - which sounds the same as but has nothing to do with the flower.

The case of renowned international car makers having to find a different name when entering the Chinese market is, however, nothing new.

Some have looked for a Chinese name that gives a new meaning to their established brand while others have opted for a Chinese name that sounds distinctly like its Western equivalent.

Hence BMW has in China become known as Baoma (or "treasurable horse") and Mercedes-Benz is called Benchi, which not only sounds a bit like Benz but means "to gallop."

Some others have opted for a little transliteration - Lexus has become Leikesasi, Bentley has turned into Binli and Infiniti has been morphed into Infeinidi.

Lexus has in fact tried for the best of both of these brave new worlds - before it was officially launched as a brand in China, its cars were known there as Lingzhi, which roughly translated means "soaring ambitions" in Chinese.

"For us, we want to have a more global brand image, just like Lexus, Infiniti and Bentley have been doing in China," was how Yang Cheng, PR manager for the Lotus sales company in Beijing, explained the name change to the China Daily newspaper last week.

And the reason why changing names is so easy for these famous - and historic - brands?

Last year China reconfirmed its place as the world's leading car market with 18.06 million units sold.

MS

 

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: SAGE Bookkeeper & PA to Directors

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

    Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

    £15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

    Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

    £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

    Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

    £28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

    Day In a Page

    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

    No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

    Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

    Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
    Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

    There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

    The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map
    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies