‘Tis Not Enough That Every Stander-By No Glaring Errors In Your Steps Can Espy

Harder than string theory, this. Can one clearly recount the Suzuki Ignis story?

2008 Suzuki Ignis: parkers

There are two product lines made by Suzuki. One is a line of small, quite conventional five and three door cars called the Swift or the Ignis or Cultus. And the other is a line of three and five door cars called the Ignis or Swift.

2001 Suzuki Ignis: wikipedia (give them some money, please)

These are some notes taken as I was scanning my references:

Suzuki Swift 2000-2008.

Suzuki Cultus 1983-1988 and 1998 -2003

Suzuki Swift 2000-2004 (“Ignis” body, see photograph at the top of the article)

Suzuki Swift 1988 -1994 the plain Swift-body with the glazed c-pillar, also called Cultus (get milk x 2 litres)

Suzuki Swift 2004-2010 – “Swift” body with glazed A-pillar.

Suzuki Swift 2000-2006 (the HT51S “Ignis”-bodied version)

Suzuki Ignis 2003-2008 (Ignis body)

Sometimes the car is sold as  Subaru Justy too (I have dealt with that)

What I had planned to do was to look up the product history of the thing I know as the Ignis. Here is a photo of the body I had in mind, to be clear:

All I wanted to do was to find out if this somewhat overlooked car had a secret history of quiet, steady success. I might find out later.

The resultant search shows that Suzuki have been quite inconsistent in their product name strategy or that Wikipedia is not presenting an accurate story or both. What this subject calls for is a diagram and a timeline which it is more time-consuming than a bunch of words on a page. It´ll have to wait. Before I get down to that it occurred to me to ask if anyone had any other suggestions for products with complex and/confusing naming strategies?

2017 Suzuki Ignis, Paris: autocar.co.uk

Most likely the winners will be Japanese models sold in different markets with overlapping model generations. It might be like this: product A is launched in Japan from 2000-2010; it is made and sold in Europe from 2002-2012; meanwhile product A is renamed as product B and also sold in Europe alongside A for two years because B is so different from A. In Japan product A is not sold concurrently with product B and they both have the same name. In one market product B has no direct predecessor as it is “a new line” but in another market B is presented as the replacement for A because they have the same name even though the first generation is a five door hatchback and the second generation is a three door CUV (for example).

Remember in this hypothetical case, there is a product line with one name (say Rocket) where generation one is the five door hatch and generation two is the three door.  In a development of this, in Europe product B is replaced with a successor to Japanese-market A, and give a new name, C. But product A’s name is revived for a different product somewhere else and it resembles product C. It can get confusing.

2013 Suzuki Swift: a much better attempt at a wraparound windscreen and on a much cheaper car: autocar india

If you grow up, as I did, thinking that a car model represented the Platonic manifestation of some ideal, then it is really hard to understand alternative conceptions, that the name and thing it names can be dissociated and re-associated like dance partners in a waltz.

Cars like the Golf and BMW 3 series are quite fixed reference points (from where I am standing), the 3 more than the Golf because the Golf has had another life outside Europe with old iterations soldiering on. The Cultus/Ignis/Swift issue shows that the product can be sold under different names in various markets at the same time. It is a matter of some expediency as to which name is used. The Cultus/Ignis/Swift is probably an unusually messy one. The Carina/Avensis and Mazda 626 would be outstanding examples of complex model histories. It’s not really Wikipedia’s fault that the articles can’t quite keep track of the name switch overs.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

16 thoughts on “‘Tis Not Enough That Every Stander-By No Glaring Errors In Your Steps Can Espy”

  1. True, Japanese companies lead in the field of unstructured naming. I think Mitsubishi are kings. I can’t even bother to untangle the use of Colt/Mirage/Lancer/Galant over the years.

    Then the US sends up oddities where names like Continental and Imperial are brands or models or both. And there’s Ford’s wilful recycling of the phonetically similar with Galaxie/Galaxy and Cougar/Kuga.

    Branding people worry too much about our attachment to these names. I imaging their meetings are like listening to a couple of teens earnestly discussing the family lineages in Game Of Thrones.

    1. Sean: you´ve missed one extra layer of branding confusion in the US: the name that is a brand, a model and a trim designation. GM were good at that. I propose that the rationalist, Cartesian tradition in European thought makes the idea of naming the same thing with two different tags or using two tags to indentify one thing repugnant. The Confucian or Shinto (?) tradition sees words and things as having a looser relation. Also, simply, the Japenese exported a lot more and made local factories. It was almost inevitable things would get out of synchron.

  2. Nissan’s Cherry/Sunny/Sentra (anything else?) lines of the 80s and 90s are quite confusing, too.

  3. For some reason, in the early 60s, Ford UK decided to use the Consul name, previously used on the entry level large car, as a sub-category. So there was the Consul Classic, the Consul Cortina and the Consul Corsair. Presumably they dropped the idea after the accountants got the bill from the chroming company.

    But they were still attached enough to the Consul name to revive it for the entry level Granada. And they also revived Corsair in Australia for a rebadged Nissan.

    1. How did that work? Was each car (Classic, Cortina and Corsair) a separate body? It is odd to use a noun as a pre-fix.
      Let’s say “Captain” has a good sound (status) but we use it as a trim level for our unimaginatively named 4-door, large 4-door and roadster. With Ford’s logic it turns out as the
      Captain 4-door,
      Captain large 4-door and
      Captain roadster.

      At the same time I can get a 4-door GL and 4-door GLX but the best version is the Captain 4-door?

    2. Used in this way, it rather sounds like a sub-brand. A bit like you could get a C3 and a DS3, or a C4 and a DS4, when both was still under the Citroën umbrella.

  4. Although the Corsair shared central body structure with the Cortina, we weren’t meant to notice that. The Classic preceded the Corsair and there was of course its coupe version the Consul Capri. So I guess Consul meant “I’m bigger than an Anglia, but not as big as a Zephyr”. Maybe Ford felt that alliteration was good in itself.

  5. VW Passat W8 4Motion. Said to be entirely appropriate in the case of the sluggish automatic.

  6. Citroën CX 25 GTi Turbo 2 (I understand now why it wasn’t available as an automatic; the badge wouldn’t have fitted onto the narrow bootlid).

  7. Thanks for those.
    I was hoping for convoluted naming histories. Sean’s Consul is a contender. I bet there’s a Japanese car out there with an even sillier name-swapping history.

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