If you are not a Nigerian and you want to buy a car in Nigeria soon, or visit a mechanic, you really have to know the car brands in Nigeria with the funny appellations most cars now bear
It is a fact that all vehicles have makers and models but rather than identify them by such, some Nigerians prefer to localise their names. The reason for such renaming is as diverse as the car brands.
When the Volkswagen Beetle, known officially as Volkswagen Type 1, was manufactured, the car was rechristened in Nigeria with names such as Ijapa (tortoise)and So kinso (the occupant beside the driver needs to get down before those on the back seat can alight) when it hit the country auto market in the 70s.
Given the similarity between the vehicle and the tortoise, it took no time before the appellation ‘Ijapa’ was given to the car. Though it is a Yoruba word, it stuck to the car like a second skin.
Besides that brand of Volkswagen (which has since been upgraded) and some others after it, newer models of car brands have also been nicknamed.
We learnt that Cadillac Escalade is called Chairman, Infiniti fx35 goes by the name Dwarf, Toyota Starlet and Nissan Micra are nicknamed Rabbit, Toyota Avalon bearsLong John, BMW 5 series 05 is rechristened Cobra while Nissan Pathfinder is called Lorry.
Some other vehicles with funny nicknames are Mack trucks addressed as Kill and Go, Peugeot 407 called Jet, FJ Cruiser known as Hummer Jnr., Toyota Highlander is given the appellation Carton Wagon, Volkswagen Jetta is named Big Packet,Volkswagen Golf is rechristened Packet and Volvo GL750 funnily bears Coffin.
Other popular vehicles with amusing nicknames are Mazda 6 bearing Ninja Face; Lexus RX300, Ajebor; BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S Class, Beast; Toyota Corolla 96 model, First Lady;
Toyota Camry 2001 model, Drop Light; Nissan Xterra, Lego Jeep; Toyota Camry 2003-2005 models, Big for Nothing or Big Daddy; Toyota Camry 1995 model, Orobo;
Toyota Camry 1999 model, Tiny/Pencil Light; Honda Accord 1996 model, Bulldog and Honda Accord 1995 model named Bullet.
Others include Toyota Tundra 2010 model, The Bully; Honda Accord 1999-2002 models, Baby Boy; Honda Accord 2011-2012 models, Evil Spirit; Honda Accord 2003-2005, End of Discussion; Honda Accord 2006-2010 models, Discussion Continues; and Honda Accord ex 1994 model nicknamed Honda Hala.
A motorist, who drives a Honda Accord 2000 model, Ifeanyi Essien, said he only got to know of the nickname given to his brand of car when he wanted to purchase it.
He said he kept on naming the brand he wanted but his car dealer told him it was important for him to identify the car as Baby Boy.
Essien said, ‘‘He told me that it would be hard to identify the car by its model or brand. He said the best way was to either call it ‘Baby Boy’ or show its picture whenever I am discussing the car.’’
He further said curiosity led him to know why the car was named ‘Baby Boy’ especially when his car dealer was unable to explain the origin of the name.
He stated, ‘‘I was interested to know why the car was so named since I already bought it and I did not see any nexus between the car and the nickname. All the people I asked were unable to explain why the car is named ‘Baby Boy,’ I decided to ask questions from importers of cars but none could tell me. I later found out that the car was used by a Nollywood actor to carry his wife in a movie titled, Baby Boy. It is so funny because so many people call the car by that nickname but no one knows why it is so.’’
Another motorist identified as Festus Oriloye who drives same Honda Accord model told our correspondent that he did not know why the car was nicknamed Baby Boy.
He said, ‘‘I know they call it Baby Boy but I do not know why and I don’t think I should bother myself about that.’’
On his part, a tyre dealer, Mr. Kingdom Ndubuisi, said car importers usually find one appellation or the other for vehicles for easy identification.
When asked if the model or brand name was not enough identification for them, Ndubuisi added, ‘‘Nigeria is a peculiar country. We always find a name to suit things. The nicknames for cars are coined by importers so that people can identify the vehicles better rather than with their brand names.’’
Also, a businessman, Mr. Innocent Nwadikwa, said the same way commercial motorcycles were named Okada was similar to how vehicles were being rechristened in Nigeria.
He however added that each of the nicknames given to the car would have a source since the appellation, Okada is traceable to a town in Edo State and an airline once owned by a business mogul in the state.
Nwadike said, ‘‘I think it is just one person who will give a particular car a nickname and it sticks. For instance, those fairly used products from abroad are called tokunbo. It is to show that they were imported. By that name, it is easy for anybody to know that the products are not locally made.’’
A lady, who gave her name simply as Lillian, stated that Nigerians give vehicles nicknames for identification purposes because it would be easy for people to know the brands that way.
Yinka Ajayi, who drives a Toyota Camry V6 2002 model, said his brand of car is nicknamed Envelope.
He added that he believed the car was so nicknamed because its reverse light is envelope-shaped.
Ajayi also said he was of the opinion that nicknames were given to the cars in order to dignify and identify them better.
‘‘Overseas, people identify vehicles by their models and brand names. But here in Nigeria, we want to identify the cars better and also to dignify and make them saleable. Hence, they come up with funny appellations. Toyota Camry 1999 model is called Tiny/Pencil light because its reverse light has a pointed edge like a pencil and it glitters at night. Car dealers give the cars nicknames and we just call them so,” Ajayi noted.
Another tyre seller, Mr. Chizom Michael, stated that shapes of vehicles determine their nicknames. He cited examples of such names as Orobo, Tiny Light, Bulldog and Bullet which he said match the sizes, shapes and built of vehicles bearing them.
Segun Fetuga, who drives a Honda Accord 2011 model nicknamed Evil Spirit, supported Michael’s submission.
He felt the car was given such nickname because of what he described as its scary head lamps which seem to forewarn those crossing roads without paying attention.
Commenting on the Honda Accord vehicles nicknamed ‘End of Discussion,’ Mr. Sola Adebiyi, who drives a 2004 model said the origin was from a television advertisement some years ago. He said in the advert, some gentlemen were discussing about the features of the car and that after the discussion, they were convinced about the reliability of the car and the advert ended with ‘End of Discussion.’
He added that that was how the models of the car till 2005 were rechristened ‘End of Discussion.”
He further said when a new model of the Honda Accord was manufactured in 2006, another advertisement came on air and with the payoff: ‘Discussion Continues.’
Adebiyi said that was how the car brands got their nicknames.
‘‘I remember that when the new model came out in 2006, the advertisement for it highlighted the features which it has over the former models. It was a funny advert showing the wonder-on-wheel. Car dealers did not sweat to find a nickname for that brand because the first and second advertisements have somehow creatively renamed the brand,’’ he added.
A banker, Mr. Tijani Afeez, told NE that he was surprised when a car dealer asked him if he wanted the Discussion Continues model of Honda Accord when he requested for the car’s latest brand in 2008.
Afeez said, ‘‘I was tempted to ask if there was a discussion earlier on the vehicle because it was strange to me.’’
Also, a motorist, Affiong Udom, was full of laughter when our correspondent asked if he knew why his Toyota Camry 2004 model is called ‘Big for Nothing.’
He said the car’s dashboard, size and boot were believed to be large hence the appellation: Big for Nothing.