41 Cars Named After Places in North America
Best of the Lot, Featured
American automakers have long produced cars that have been economical, muscular and classy. However, the honest truth is that you could have the best product in the world, but it wont gather a dime if you cannot market it. It could be this realization that stimulates the marketeers to name cars after places – at times to grab on to the name recognition, and at times to define some trait of the car. While American manufacturers take pride in naming their cars after places in U.S., several ‘outside’ automakers have followed suit and gone with the trend – for better or for worse.
Here’s a look at some of the most famous vehicles named after places in North America.
Alfa Romeo Montreal
Alfa Romeo Montreal is a 2+2 coupé designed and produced by Italian manufacturer Alfa Romeo during the period stretching from 1970 to 1977. The interesting bit of history pertaining to this model is that it was initially introduced as a nameless concept car during Expo ’67, held in Montreal, Canada. The public there fondly called it ‘The Montreal’. This name caught on, and the concept was later officially named the Alfa Romeo Montreal.
Buick Lucerne is a luxury car introduced by the Buick division of General Motors in 2006 to replace the Park Avenue and LeSabre. The car gets its name from Lucerne, a town in Weld County, Colorado. However, the name hasn’t gone along well with fans of the brand with rampant criticism that the car was named after a brand of cottage cheese at the local Safeway grocery store. Lucerne is also the name of fourth largest lake is Switzerland.
Buick Park Avenue
The predecessor of the Buick Lucerne, the Buick Park Avenue pays homage to an upscale street in New York City Avenue Boulevard, Park Avenue. The nameplate which came into the arena in 1975 got established as a standalone model, the Park Avenue, in 1991. Until 2005, two generations of the Park Avenue had been manufactured in the United States. In 2007, GM revived the nameplate in China on a luxury Buick sedan.
Buick Rainier was a mid-size SUV introduced in 2004. The Rainier became the first truck to be sold under the Buick label since the 1920′s. It featured a body-on-frame chassis, with a V8 driving the rear wheels. The Rainier was a GMT360 SUV with a V8 engine that could enable it to freely tour the Mt. Rainier, after which it was named.
Cadillac Eldorado is one of the most prominent models in the history of Cadillac. Eight generations of the model were seen during its reign from 1953 to 2002. The Cadillac Eldorado is the longest running American personal luxury car. El Dorado is the name of a county located in California, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Chevrolet Bel Air
The Chevrolet Bel Air is a full-size automobile produced by the Chevrolet division of GM during the 1950–1975 period. The name comes from Bel Air, a district in Los Angeles, California. The model became a distinct one since 1953, and 8 generations of them were built since then. The latest was the 1981 Canadian Bel Air model produced for its home market.
The Chevrolet Colorado is a compact pickup introduced in 2004. The truck was named ‘Colorado’ as part of a marketing ploy where it would be distributed as “destined to conquer the rocky mountain” region of the U.S. state of Colorado. It is still a successful model of GM with the latest one acquiring a 5.3L V8 producing 300-hp.
Chevy’s midsize sedan is named after Malibu, the beachfront community of Los Angeles, California. Seven generations of the model have been manufactured by GM since its introduction in 1964. The traits that still makes this car a strong choice are its comfortable and quiet ride, roomy cabin, handsome styling, satisfying performance, and value pricing.
This large SUV was introduced by GM in 1994 to re-badge its SUV segment. The name comes from Lake Tahoe, a deep freshwater lake located between the states of California and Nevada. The Tahoe has impressively matched the wants and needs of large American families with room for up to 9 passengers, along with a V8 powered engine and plenty of amenities to supplement it.
Chevrolet Silverado is among the latest in the line of full-size pickup trucks from GMC. Our point of interest, Silverado, after which this SUV is named is a historical landmark located in eastern Orange County, California. The light-duty GMT 800 Silverado was introduced in 1998, and its success story continues right up to the latest 2009 Chevrolet Silverado 1500.
The Chrysler Aspen is a truck-based SUV from Chrysler that launched in 2007. Aspen is a small Colorado town that is known for its Aspen trees and an upscale tourist center known for its ski resort. The Aspen name was earlier used by a Dodge passenger car during the late 70’s.
Newport is a city located in Rhode Island which is famous for summer resorts and the Newport mansions. Chrysler first used the Newport name during 1940 when five of these vehicles were produced. The name was then carried forward through 7 generations from 1961-1981.
Chrysler New Yorker
Chrysler New Yorker is a very special model for Chrysler, as it was the brand’s flagship model from 1939 to 1996. Moreover, the New Yorker holds its name in the auto-history charts for being the longest running American car nameplate. The 11 generations of The New Yorker helped in defining Chrysler as a creator of upscale vehicles. Being the company’s flagship model, it was only logical for it be named after one of the greatest cities in the world, New York.
Chrysler Pacifica is a mid-size, crossover introduced by Chrysler in 2004 (and thereafter soon stopped production in 2008). It is named after Pacifica city, located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in San Mateo County, California. The Pacifica suffered from mediocre engines and reliability woes and was discontinued with 2008 Chrysler Pacifica LX model.
Chrysler Saratoga is a four door sedan produced by Chrysler, LLC. The Saratoga name first appeared on its 1939 models and continued to be used during different periods, until 1995. The model is named after Saratoga city located in Santa Clara County, California, USA.
Chrysler Sebring Coupe pays homage to Sebring, Florida which is the home for the world-famous, Sebring International Raceway. It is the host of annually held, renowned endurance car race – the 12 Hours of Sebring. The Sebring was introduced as a coupé in 1995 and later as a convertible in 1996. Of late, a convertible of the same name also came into existence.
Dakota is a mid-size pickup truck from Chrysler group’s Dodge brand. When introduced in 1987 it was the first small pickup with a V8 engine. Dakota is a region located in the Midwestern region of the U.S.A. The Dakota boasts of comfortable seating with abundant storage, power and effortless controls.
The Dodge Daytona is a front-wheel drive hatchback from Chrysler. It was rolled out from 1984 to 1993. The Daytona derives its name from Daytona Beach, Florida, host of the Daytona 500 race. The car was restyled in 1987, and then later in 1992, before it was replaced by the 1995 Dodge Avenger.
Dodge Durango is a mid-size SUV from Chrysler LLC’s Dodge brand. It is named after Durango, the most popular city in La Plata County, Colorado. It was introduced in 1998 as a replacement for the Ramcharger. The SUV was redesigned in 2004 for its second generation which got discontinued by 2008. However, the Durango is all set to return in 2012 on a shared platform with the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Ferrari California is a grand touring sports-car launched by Ferrari in 2008. It is a two door 2+2 hard-top convertible powered by a 4.3-L V8, sending 453 hp to the rear wheels. The car is named after the Golden state in U.S., which is also probably the state that purchases the most Ferrari’s.
GMC Sonoma is a compact pick-up truck which was truly affordable, versatile and easy on gas. GMC 80′s pick-up S-15 was revamped in 1991 with power-boost and several convenience features to become the GMC Sonoma. Sonoma is a historically momentous city located in California.
GMC Yukon is a large SUV debuted by General Motors in 1992 to complement the Blazer. It is named after Yukon, the western-most federal territory of Canada through which the Yukon River flows. Over time, the 2-door, 4×4 with a passenger capacity of 6 has transformed itself to a 4-door SUV with a choice of AWD and seating for up to nine. The latest model launched in the Yukon line up is the Yukon Denali Hybrid model.
Hyundai Santa Fe
Hyundai Santa Fe is a mid-size crossover SUV introduced in 2001 as Hyundai’s first SUV. It is named after Santa Fe, the capital city of New Mexico. The Santa Fe set a milestone in the company’s history by becoming Hyundai’s best seller and cementing its place in the United States. Two generations of the model has been released and future prospects include electric and hybrid variants.
Hyundai Tucson is a compact crossover SUV built and marketed by HMC. The model is named after Tucson, a city in southern Arizona. The Tucson with its V6 engine, smooth ride and a long list of safety equipment became Hyundai’s official “entry-level” SUV. More than 1 million units were sold since its launch in 2004. Hence, it’s no surprise that the whole world is all enthusiastic about the 2010 Hyundai Tucson.
The Kia Sedona mini-van was introduced by Kia Motors in 1999. Sedona is a town in Arizona famous for its stunning red sandstone formations. The vehicle was available in U.S. with a 3.5L DOHC V6 producing 195-hp, with a 5-speed manual/4-speed automatic transmission. The Sedona mini-van soon became Kia’s top-selling vehicle in the States.
The Maserati Indy came into the arena in 1968 with the name-tag to celebrate Maserati’s 2 victories at the Indy 500. Indy is the short-name for Indianapolis, the home to the famous Indianapolis 500 race. A total of 1136 Indy’s were produced during the period 1969-1974.
Mercury Cougar Bostonian Edition
Mercury Cougar was an automobile under the Mercury brand of Ford’s Lincoln-Mercury Division. The car was introduced in 1967 and was carried forward by a diverse series of models over the next 3 decades. Our point of interest is the Mercury Cougar Bostonian Edition which was released around 1987. It paid homage to Boston, the capital city of Massachusetts and one of the oldest cities in USA.
Mercury Milan is a mid-size sedan built by Ford Motor Company and distributed by its Lincoln-Mercury division. People might get confused by the Italian name; however, this Milan is a village in Rock Island County, Illinois, U.S. The Milan has, over the years proven to be one of the most reliable family cars in the U.S.
The Mercury Monterey is a full-size, near-luxury car introduced in 1950 by Ford’s Mercury division. Monterey is a city located along the Pacific coast in Central California. During its period from 1950-1974, it produced 6 generations with progressively stronger engines, the biggest being 428 cu in V8 with automatic 3-speed.
Oldsmobile Aurora is a full-size luxury car that was made by Oldsmobile, a division of General Motors. It is named after Aurora, a popular city in Colorado. The sports sedan executive car launched in 1995 and soon became Oldsmobile’s flagship luxury sport-sedan. It’s final-generation model in 2003 offered both V6 and V8 versions and was equipped with a four-speed automatic-transmission with performance-algorithm shifting.
Subaru Baja is a light-utility, four passenger, AWD, 4-door crossover that was manufactured by Subaru from 2003-2006. The Baja combined the handling and passenger carrying capacity of a sedan with open-bed versatility and load capacity of a pickup truck. The name comes from Baja, a region located in the California peninsula which plays host to an annual endurance off-road race- the Baja 1000.
Subaru Tribeca is a mid-size cross-over SUV manufactured and sold by Japanese automaker Subaru. The Tribeca was introduced in 2005 with 5-seat and 7-seat trims. The second generation Tribeca came with a new front and rear styling, a powerful engine and revised suspension tuning. This model is named after the trendy New York neighborhood Tribeca, which is the acronym for the Triangle Below Canal Street.
Suzuki Reno is a 4-door compact vehicle sold by the Japanese automaker since 2005. It is named after Reno, the county seat of Washoe County, Nevada. It is a compact version of the Suzuki Forenza, and its engine and design was based on Lasetti of Daewoo, which Suzuki bought out in 2004. The latest edition of the Suzuki’s top seller in the American market is the 2010 Suzuki Reno.
Toyota Avalon is a full-size car produced by Toyota for the U.S. market. The first one of its three generations was released in 1994. Soon, it became the flagship sedan of Toyota in U.S.A, Canada, and the Middle East. Fortunately, It is still going strong. Avalon is a legendary island featured in the Arthurian legend, and it is also the name of a hill in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Toyota Tacoma is a compact pickup truck manufactured by Toyota Motor Company since 1995. The truck is named after the city of Tacoma situated in Washington. The second generation Tacoma, introduced in 2005, was Motor Trend Magazine’s ‘Truck of the Year‘ and is surprisingly still drawing customers.
Toyota Tundra is a full-size pickup truck that is manufactured and produced by Toyota Motor Corporation since 2000. It was considered to be the first import-brand full-size truck built for America with aggressive looks and a powerful feel with a refined V8 engine. Tundra refers to an entire geographical region in North Alaska and Canada.
The Plymouth Sundance is a compact car that was produced between 1987 and 1994. It is named after Sundance, a city in Utah famous for its film festivals. The base model arrived as a sporty 4-door hatchback with 2.2L 93-hp engine. It was followed by a 2-door hatchback with an optional 150-hp turbocharged engine.
Pontiac Bonneville is built by the Pontiac division of General Motors. It was introduced as a limited edition performance convertible during the year 1957. The car is named after the dried lake bed in the Great Salt Lake Desert, Utah which is the home of the salt flats.
Pontiac Catalina first appeared in 1951 as a part of Pontiac’s full-sized automobile line. The name used to denote the hardtop body style pays homage to a rocky island located off the coast of southern California Peninsula. Seven generations were produced till the model year 1981.
Pontiac Montana, named after the U.S. state of Montana, is a minivan from the Pontiac division of GM. The Montana came into the arena in 1998 after the Pontiac Trans Sport. For the model year 2005, the name was changed to Montana SV6 and redesigned with a less aerodynamic nose to resemble an SUV.
Yugo Florida is a 5-door hatchback produced by Serbian automaker Zastava. It is also known as Zastava Florida, Yugo Sana and Yugo Miam. The name of course comes from a well-known U.S. state, Florida. It’s first model was introduced in 1987 and the latest one in 2008. The model remains a success due to its easily affordable status.