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Trumpchi: what's in a name?

Reuters 2017-04-21 05:30:00

When they first launched their flagship car the 'Trumpchi', executives at Chinese automaker GAC didn't even know who Donald Trump was. Now that they do, they're considering a re-brand. Graham Mackay reports.

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At this year's Shanghai Auto Show, one name has landed itself unwittingly in the spotlight. Local carmaker GAC wheeling out it's flagship brand - as it prepares to enter the U.S. market. But until recently, it never knew the 'Trumpchi' would become such a big talking point. Reuters Jake Spring has the story on how the name came about. SOUNDBITE (English) JAKE SPRING, REUTERS, SAYING: "Trumpchi was founded around a decade ago when they had no idea about Donald Trump even existing. They wanted to make a name in English that sounds like Twanchi, which means legendary, and they say has quite a nice ring to it. So they made it Trumpchi which sounds very similar, and they said also Trump sounds like it's the best, and Chi sounds like China, Trumpchi." The company says any similarity between the car's name and the U.S. commander in chief is purely coincidental. But that doesn't mean they're just ignoring it. SOUNDBITE (English) JAKE SPRING, REUTERS, SAYING: "Only last year when he started gaining traction in the US election did people start to realise this could be a problem. and it really became a problem when they went to the Detroit auto show earlier this year, and people were taking pictures and laughing and questioning why is it called this. And so now at the Shanghai auto show yesterday a group of GAC executives for the first time addressed this broadly to the media. And they explained we had no idea, we're now researching should we change the name, should we not. They say they haven't made a decision to change, but they're open to it." The company says it plans to be on the map in the U.S. by 2019. The question is, will it by then have a name that's a little more 'coupe' and a little less 'toupe'.