General Motors has decided to call its forthcoming baby car Adam, a name that will resonate immediately with German buyers but probably leave their British counterparts scratching their heads.
In Germany – and every other European territory – the cars that British motorists know as Vauxhalls are branded Opel; Opel was founded by Adam Opel, and GM's German operation, Adam Opel AG, still carries his full name, so the significance of the new car's badge will be readily recognised there. Does the name Adam signal that GM's UK operation is due to fall to the process of Opelisation, consigning the Vauxhall brand to history? That's unlikely – senior executives have always dismissed the idea, not least because Vauxhall typically tends to achieve a higher market share in the UK than Opel does in Germany.
So what of the car itself? It's a new small premium runabout designed to allow GM to compete for some of the money that currently goes to the BMW Mini and Fiat 500. Previously known by the concept name Junior, Adam will be expected to give a bit of a lift to Vauxhall's slightly humdrum image. That will be tough work, even if the new model is very good, and official photographs showing Adam in heavily disguised form give us only the vaguest notion of its looks.
Still, if it's possible to make a success of a television channel called Dave, why not a car badged Adam? As the home of Top Gear repeats always likes to remind us, everyone knows a bloke called Dave; how many will want to get to know a car called Adam?