Date: Sun, 30 Nov 1997 20:05:16 -0500 From: Gerald Cohen Subject: Re: Nova (the car) >At 12:37 PM 11/27/97 -0500, Gerald Cohen wrote: >> >> Also, too, although the "Ich bin ein Berliner" item should be removed >>from Mr. Crotty's list, the overall list itself is an interesting one. The >>marketing of the Nova ("It doesn't go") in Latin America--with its >>disastrously low sales for a while and with no one in management aware of >>the implication of the car's name--is breathtaking in retrospect. >> > >Apparently management was aware of the issue. This is taken from the >alt.folklore.urban web page ( > >------------------------------ > >>From _Business Mexico_, June, 1993 > >[...] > >The most often cited auto blunder is the Chevrolet Nova (the phrase "No va" >translates in Spanish as "It doesn't go") which General Motors wanted to >bring into Mexico in the early 1970s. Although GM's Mexican managers were >worried about the name, Nova was indeed used. > >"They kept the name and it sold very well," says marketing analyst Cecilia >Bouleau, who disputes the conventional wisdom surrounding the moniker. >"It's the same thing with Nova gasoline. I think that the word is >sufficiently incorporated into the language as meaning 'new' -- as in >'bossa nova' -- that the criticism isn't valid." >-- >Evan Morris >words1[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] > ****** The situation must have been different in different areas of Latin America. I remember a brief article in the _Wall Street Journal_ in the 1970s about what happened in Puerto Rico. Sales of the Nova were abysmal, and management had no clue why. So a meeting was called to discuss the matter, and at the meeting someone told management what was common knowledge among the workers: that the name "(It) doesn't go" (No va) was a major impediment to the sale of the car. Management soon changed the car's name to the Caribe, and sales picked up. I mentioned this story to one of my classes in the late l970s or early 1980s, and afterwards a Latin American student (from Venezuela, if I remember right) told me that in her country the car's name Nova was also regarded as a joke. --Gerald Cohen gcohen[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]