Automotive Brands Driving Forward in 2021

New car naming and conventions are always an exciting trend to examine, so as we move into a new year, let’s take a look at some new releases for 2021.

Firstly, some names come back after hiatuses of various lengths, including the Ford Bronco, Honda Passport, Jeep Wagoneer, and GMC Hummer. This strategy certainly looks to capitalize on past brand equity, providing a jump start to their release. GMC Hummer capitalizes on an established brand name, pushing it forward into the future as an electric vehicle.

Here are some quick looks at other car manufacturers and what they are planning to launch this year:


Kia Seltos:
  • 6th Kia SUV
  • Bigger than the Soul, Smaller than the Sportage
  • Inspired by the legend of ‘Celtos,’ Kia’s first mid-size SUV Seltos represents the brave and assertive spirit of Celtos, with the ‘S’ in its adapted name implying speed and sportiness
  • 2nd time Kia used Greek Mythology to inspire names, the first was Sorento, “which describes a place. A small village in Italy, Sorento is named for the prevalence of those who revered the sirens from Greek mythology, and this name lends itself to the alluring nature of Kia’s third-row, mid-size crossover.”

Nissan Ariya:
  • 2nd electric Nissan, 1st electric Nissan SUV
  • Softer/more elegant/ free-flowing name than other rugged named Nissan SUVs
  • Named after Allyson Witherspoon’s (Chief Marketing Officer at Nissan) niece

Cadillac Lyriq:
  • Pronounced¬†“Lyric”
  • Outside of Escalade, Cadillac mostly uses an alphanumeric naming system (XT4, XT5, XT6, CT4, CT5), but it aims to change the future.
  • -IQ ending to be Cadillac’s new electric naming strategy, Celestiq (electric sedan) is also slated to be coming soon
  • 2008 Cadillac electric concept was “Provoq.”
  • Inspired by Cadillac’s presence in song lyrics

Luxury car makers such as Acura, BMW, Audi, and Infiniti popularized alphanumeric naming, and it continues to gain popularity:

  • Infinity QX55 fits in with the QX family of SUVs
  • Volkswagen ID.4 is the first VW with an alphanumeric name, as well as the first electric VW
  • Kia K5 is a redesigned Optima and the first alphanumeric Kia in America. The Korean-based company uses the K-number system in their homeland while using real names in the United States. Perhaps they will use the K-number as a global system in the future.
  • Genesis is establishing their own naming architecture since breaking away from the Hyundai masterbrand. Their sedans are the G70, G80, & G90. The GV70 is coming a year after their first SUV, the GV80, hit the market. The Genesis naming architecture follows a similar path forged by other luxury automakers before them.