Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mahindra Pickup: What’s in a name?

Mahindra has announced and subsequently un-announced a tentative name for their new pickup truck set for sale in the U.S. market in 2009. The name that had initially been chosen, proposed, or just possibly tested for public reaction was: Appalachian.

It’s unknown why this name was withdrawn this past summer as no explanation was given. However, I suspect that after some research, Mahindra and Global Vehicles received unfavorable feedback from the Appalachian name. It’s unfortunate, but understandable that there tends to be a negative connotation associated with the Appalachian name and what is traditionally considered the Appalachian region of the Southeastern United States. I have a feeling many Americans have visions of poverty and social backwardness, propagated by movies and urban legend which shine a dim light on people who live off the land in remote areas of the United States. Doubly unfortunate is that most people seldom realize the Appalachian Mountain Range extends well beyond the American Southeast. The Appalachian Chain actually includes all regional mountain ranges (such as the Smokey, Blue Ridge, Pocono, Catskills, Adirondack, Green, and White Mountains) extending across the east from Alabama to Newfoundland, Canada.

I’ve spent most of my life living and recreating within the Appalachian Chain, mostly in New York State between the Pocono’s, Catskills, and Adirondacks. I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen many pieces of the range in nearly every state they pass through, and even in Nova Scotia, Canada (lead photo of Appalachian Range touching the Atlantic Ocean on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia courtesy Jaime Winfield).

So, what will the name officially be? In Australia, Mahindra calls the truck: Pik-Up. Truthfully, I think that’s a fine name, but I doubt it will stick. I’m certain that US marketing wordsmiths will not find that at all acceptable and will want to give it a rich and majestic (i.e. fancy) name. Hopefully they don’t force something too pretentious upon us. Maybe they’ll keep with the Appalachian Mountain theme and give us something palatable to the masses, yet representative of the ruggedness of Mahindra trucks. Adirondack, Berkshire, Blue Ridge… these could work. With the Adirondack Mountains in my back yard, I am certainly biased toward that name.

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