Range Rover Evoque: Where Have I Heard That One Before?

By Charles Krome

According to my handy New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (Thumb Index Edition), the word “evoke” means “call into being or activate (a memory, image, feeling, etc.).”

Here, I’ll use it in a sentence: When I first heard about the new Range Rover, it evoked the image of a sleek, angular high-performance luxury coupe with a retractable hardtop and a supercharged 405-hp Northstar V8.

But that’s probably because the name of what’s going to be the “smallest, lightest and most fuel-efficient Range Rover ever produced,” the vehicle that Land Rover’s design director called “a bold evolution of Range Rover design,” will be called the “Evoque” when it launches in 2011; the groundbreaking Cadillac concept vehicle that was introduced at the 1999 North American International Auto Show, the one that eventually morphed into the Cadillac XLR, that car was called the “Evoq.”

And it turns out that this is just one of a string of odd naming problems that General Motors has run into in the semi-recent past. Sometimes, as with the new Range Rover—which also will be notable for being available with two-wheel drive—the problem has been a lack of imagination on the part of other automakers.

In that category, we also have a certain much-lauded concept car from Citroen that was first shown late in 2009 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Which, just to give you a hint at where we’re headed, was still some years after we first heard about the Chevrolet Volt and therefore long enough for Citroen to come up with something better than the name “Revolte” for its “ultra-chic”  and all-electric city car.

There was also the Chery/Chevy dustup in China just a few years ago, which actually prompted the General to sue the Chinese automaker Chery over the similarity in names. Although, truth be told, the fact that (the) entire car in question (the Chery QQ) was a blatant knockoff of the in-country rival Chevrolet Matiz may have had something to do with that.

Of course, the Bowtie brand solved that little problem for good earlier this year when it banished the name “Chevy” from its international marketing plans—and it (its) local ones, too, showing that GM’s name issues aren’t limited to foreign markets.

In fact, they can often hit surprisingly close to home. I mean, it’s a bit confusing how a company that introduces something like (the) Cadillac Escalade EXT in 2002—when the automaker’s marketing mavens were especially desperate to differentiate products from GM’s eight divisions—and then turn around just a year later and come out with the Chevrolet TrailBlazer EXT.

Or how about this. GM, obviously, is located in Detroit, aka “Hockeytown.” Needless to say, folks around here are wee bit passionate about the Red Wings. Now, during the mid- to late-1990s, the Wings were locked in the kind of insane, fanatic rivalry that makes (the) Yankees-Red Sox (“hate-fest” or something) look like a quilting bee. The team’s nemesis: The Colorado Avalanche.

So, how exactly is it that Chevrolet launched the Avalanche in 2001 and then the Colorado in 2004?

And don’t even ask about the Buick LaCrosse.

Author: Charles Krome

Charles Krome is a long-time automotive journalist who spent more than 10 years on the inside at General Motors and Ford, and also has corporate communications experience with Audi, Porsche and BASF Automotive Refinish. As a big motorsports fan growing up in the Detroit area, Krome was lucky enough to be able to attend numerous NASCAR, Indy car, F1 and SCCA events while still in his formative years. This, combined with a childhood that included significant (passenger) seat time in cars from Lotus and Jensen Healey, made him a car guy at an earlier age. Today, he lives in metro Detroit with his car wife, raising car kids.

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