Top 20 most mispronounced car brands

Jet Sanchez
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In the intricate world of automotive branding, pronunciation often becomes a stumbling block for enthusiasts and casual drivers alike. 

A recent study conducted by the UK's BusinessFinancing has revealed that Peugeot ranks as the most mispronounced car brand globally, followed by Porsche and BMW. These findings underscore the challenges faced by international car brands as they strive for consistent brand identity globally.

Peugeot tops the list

Peugeot emblem

French automaker Peugeot has emerged as the most mispronounced car brand, with 1.7 million listens on Forvo, a pronunciation library. 

Native French speakers articulate it as 'puh-zhoh,' a far cry from how it looks phonetically in English. Peugeot's consistent mispronunciation highlights the complexities involved in the non-native pronunciation of French terms.

  1. Peugeot (France) - 1,700,000 listens
  2. Porsche (Germany) - 794,000 listens
  3. BMW (Germany) - 467,000 listens
  4. Citroën (France) - 442,000 listens
  5. Mercedes-Benz (Germany) - 415,000 listens

German precision

Porsche emblem

Germany, known for its precision engineering, also makes a strong showing on the list with Porsche and BMW. 

Porsche, pronounced 'por-sche' with two distinct syllables, often gets truncated to a single syllable by English speakers.

BMW, despite its global recognition, also suffers from varied pronunciations. 

It sounds ridiculous to us how anyone could mispronounce the Bavarian carmaker's name, seeing as it's only the three letters. 

However, it might have something to do with Germans preferring the 'bee em vee/wie' pronunciation. How, you ask?

Well, it may sound like forbidden knowledge, but BMW stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke GmbH, and when you think about how Germans say that third word, everything will begin to make sense.

Italian flair

Lamborghini emblem

Italy's Lamborghini, often butchered as 'Lambor-geenee' instead of 'Lambor-gini,' and Maserati, pronounced correctly as 'Mazza-rati' instead of 'Massa-rati,' highlight how exotic car brands can lose their linguistic flair when mispronounced. 

These brands, known for their luxurious and high-performance vehicles, find themselves frequently misunderstood outside their home country.

  1. Lamborghini (Italy) - 350,000 listens
  2. Audi (Germany) - 347,000 listens
  3. Volkswagen (Germany) - 336,000 listens
  4. Volvo (Sweden) - 280,000 listens
  5. Nissan (Japan) - 222,000 listens

Japanese brands

Mazda emblem

Japanese car brands like Nissan, Mazda, and Toyota also feature on the list, reflecting the global challenge of pronouncing Japanese names accurately. For example, 'Nissan' should be pronounced 'Nee-san,' but often becomes 'Nih-sahn' in English, depending on one's accent, of course.

  1. Renault (France) - 155,000 listens
  2. Chevrolet (United States) - 149,000 listens
  3. Koenigsegg (Sweden) - 144,000 listens
  4. Mazda (Japan) - 128,000 listens
  5. Toyota (Japan) - 117,000 listens

British and American marques

Bentley emblem

Even English-speaking countries are not immune to mispronunciations. Bentley from the UK and Chevrolet from the USA see frequent errors, typically stemming from unfamiliarity with regional accents or simply incorrect phonetic assumptions.

  1. Maserati (Italy) - 106,000 listens
  2. Bentley (United Kingdom) - 100,000 listens
  3. Lexus (Japan) - 74,000 listens
  4. Daewoo (South Korea) - 64,000 listens
  5. Maybach (Germany) - 59,000 listens

The DRIVEN Car Guide vote for the most surprising mispronunciation goes to Koenigsegg, the Swedish hypercar manufacturer. 

We struggle to understand how it's easier to pronounce than Chevrolet and only a tad more challenging than Mazda, according to the study.

But now that you know about these car brand mispronunciations, be a good enthusiast and say the names the proper way. Here's a quick video to get you started:

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