What’s in a name? Two new cars bring a little fun to the po-faced world of automotive nomenclatures
My youngest daughter used to go to nursery school with a pair of twins. Their names, magnificently, were Hosanna and Goodnews. You may not be surprised to learn that their father was a missionary. I could never look at Goodnews without a smile creeping across my face, and if there is any truth in the notion that we live up to our names – rather than being burdened by them – I can’t foresee there being many problems for little Goodnews later in his life.
Where car manufacturers get the inspiration for some of their more outlandish names is another matter altogether. Two new cars which are currently testing the credulity of the British car-buying public are the Skoda Yeti and Peugeot’s Bipper Tepee.
Would you want to drive a car called a Bipper? Would you feel happy saying: “Come on kids, hop in the Yeti”? Would it stop you buying either of these cars? Or, and this seems a stretch of marketing optimism, would you buy a Bipper Tepee for the very reason that it is called a Bipper Tepee?
Andrew Didlick, head of Peugeot’s PR team, laughs when I ask him just that. “We heard about the name long before we saw the car,” he says, “and our Dutch colleagues did get a little upset because apparently it means nappy over there. But when we saw the product, we thought it rather suited its name. After all, the Bipper Tepee is fun and cheeky and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It sounds a bit like ‘beep beep’, too.”
Over at Skoda’s press office, Catherine Sleigh is equally fond of the name Yeti. “Our designers chose it because it embodies the personality of the car. It’s good for adventure, on- and off-road. It’s rugged and sure-footed, just like a real yeti. Also, like the legends surrounding the yeti, it takes care of the driver and passengers.” (Among yeti lore is a tale of the hairy beast rescuing people from the mountains and returning them home safely.) Put like that, it’s hard to believe no one has named a car Yeti until now.
Of course, behind the frivolous names are two serious pieces of kit. The Bipper Tepee is a versatile five-seat MPV. Plump for the 1.4-litre diesel engine and you’ll have a combined fuel economy of almost 63 miles per gallon and qualify for the £35 road tax, as the CO2 emissions are a mere baby’s breath of 119g per km. It’s cheap, too, coming in at less than £10,000. So, a frugal, efficient family wagon at a fraction of the price of most other MPVs – beep beep!
The Yeti, which looks like a muscled-up Roomster (another Skoda with an unusual name), is a boxy 4×4. Like the Bipper, it’s cheap and economical to run – £13,775 and delivering 45mpg. Being part of the VW group, the Yeti feels accomplished, well-finished and reliable. It is a likeable car – whether you are fond of hairy monsters or not.