Cars can get successful for a number of reasons, such as performance, comfort, ease of maintenance, and above all, looks. All around the world visual characteristics are considered a key element in determining the success of a vehicle; however, in our market, this can also spawn a certain nickname that gets permanently associated with a particular model so much that actually becomes its identity.
Below we are sharing some of these nicknames which you might have heard in the market, particularly if you are out to look for a used car or during interactions with car dealers/ brokers.
The 80s was the era that gave us classically pure geometric designs due to the start of CAD (Computer Aided Design) usage in automobile design and development. Later on, a few key technological developments allowed designers & automakers to make their cars curvier.
In 1987, the 3rd generation Daihatsu Charade G100 was one of the first such cars to appear in our market which was a bit roundish as per typical 80s styling trend. With its smooth design language and a sloping roof line, the car was soon labeled as ‘anda’ (egg) by our people. And even today there is no other word that best identifies the 3rd gen Charade. Just go out in the market & say Anda Charade and everyone would know which car you are referring to.
Continuing on with the transformation in design trends which were adapting smoother styling leaving behind the sharp-edged design fad of the 80s, came the era with a flat hood and raised cabin & trunk which originated the term ‘Dolphin’.
The profile of these cars resembled a dolphin’s head with a low flat bonnet resembling the snout and a much-elevated cabin to follow. In the late 80s, the 4th gen Lancer was first to be labeled as Dolphin, however with the arrival of 5th Gen Civic which was the first locally assembled Honda, the name got permanently glued to the Civic since it was smoother than the Lancer in terms of styling and with the absence of grille up front, looked more like a dolphin– truly.
4th gen Honda City & its nick names
As weird as it sounds, the 4th gen City iDSI is often called as ‘Chooha (rat) City’ in used car market. Due to its sloping windshield which almost gets the same angle as that of its bonnet makes it reminiscent to a rat in a crouching position. Hilarious to say the least, some also refers it to an ‘istree’ (electric iron) in used car market.
The Pak Suzuki Bolan
This refers to the Suzuki Bolan, which originally is an ST-90 Carry Hi-roof from 1979. Carry here refers to its original name and ‘dabba’ (box) is because, well… it’s a box. Not only that it looks like one, but just like a box, it has got literally nothing in it.
When Honda Atlas introduced the 8th gen Civic in 2006, it was a head-turner and unique in a number of ways. Not only that it was bigger than before and was the first locally assembled Civic model to carry a 1.8 liter R-series engine with a staggering 140hp packed under its hood, but it was also distinctive due to the presence of twin tip exhaust, two-tier dashboard, and opposite moving windshield wipers, etc.
Honda used the word ‘Reborn’ in its marketing campaign to sell this Civic in Pakistan and the word got so popular that it got permanently associated with the car. Today many might not remember that TVC, but ask anyone about a Civic Reborn, they will raise their fingers towards an 8th gen Honda Civic.
Mehru aka the Boss
Suzuki Mehran that Pak Suzuki kept producing for nearly 3 decades without any safety features or equipment was loved by many due to its ultra-cheap maintenance. Because of it being easier on the pocket in terms of maintenance, people were always ready to pay outrageous prices to buy one.
Due to its name Mehran which resembles the feminine name Mehrun-Nisa or simply Mehru in short, has been commonly used since the car was supposedly nazuk (fragile). But apart from these shortcomings, it performed like a workhorse because of which many used to call it a Boss. With simpler engineering Mehran was considered the easiest car to own and maintain and is still a prime choice in the used car market.
Toyota Corolla has been a popular car in our market since the early 70s, however, all those generations arrived here as imports. In 1993 the 7th generation was the first Corolla model to roll off the Indus Motors assembly lines. So the easiest way to distinguish between the imported and local ones was the use of the word ‘Indus’. As time progressed the word got attached to this generation of locally made Corolla models and interestingly even when all the rest of the generations till today are assembled by the same Indus Motor Company, only the 7th gen is termed as Indus Corolla.
The 7th gen Civic facelift is nicknamed Eagle Eye
The 7th gen Civic originally had a rather subtle friendly-looking fascia. However, when the facelift arrived in 2004, it carried a thoroughly revised front end with a larger & sharper set of headlights that gave the car a sportier and aggressive look. The 7th gen Civic facelift is commonly referred to as Eagle Eye since the headlamps mimic those of an attacking eagle.
In the days of old, the Volkswagen Beetle was a common sight on our roads. Back in my childhood there used to be a couple of these in every street. The car was generally referred to as Foxy in our market, but that doesn’t mean it looked like a fox or something. Actually, Volkswagen is pronounced as ‘faux vagn’ in German, and because of that the car was called ‘Fauxy/ Foxy’ in short and nobody called it by its original name Beetle.
Different generations of 2.0D Corolla variants
When diesel cars were popular, the 2.0D Corolla variants were a prime choice for many. While the petrol-driven XLi/ GLi were popular in their own league, diesel variants including 2.0D, 2.0D SE and 2.0D Saloon were a different craze altogether considering the fact that diesel was much cheaper than petrol back in those days. But saying ‘two point o dee’ was a task itself so people simply used to call them 2D (two dee).
Chevrolet Joy made a brief stint in our market between 2003 and 2008. Initially, the imported units with an 800cc engine were marketed as Chevrolet Exclusive whereas later on the locally assembled 1000cc versions were labeled as Joy. It was originally a rebadged Daewoo Matiz hatchback which came under the GM (General Motors) influence when it acquired the financially troubled South Korean automaker Daewoo, hence the Matiz was marketed under Chevrolet’s umbrella.
Chevrolet Joy aka Daddu
Due to its circular headlamps and an unmistakably roundish fascia, the car resembled the frog and was obviously labeled as ‘Daddu’ by many.
Any other nickname you think we haven’t included here, do let us know so we can update it.
A computer animation professional with over 23 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations, TV channels & production facilities in Pakistan. An avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver quality content to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com