Friday, August 20, 2010

Everything you know is wrong. Caribe?

Upon reading Steve Johnson's post about the need to localize messages in local markets, I thought back to the popular Chevy Nova story. I vaguely remember hearing that the story wasn't true, and checked to see what said about it.

The truth is that the Chevrolet Nova's name didn't significantly affect its sales: it sold well in both its primary Spanish-language markets, Mexico and Venezuela. (Its Venezuelan sales figures actually surpassed GM's expectations.)

Yet sites such as haven't gotten the message:

When General Motors introduced the Chevy Nova in South America, it was apparently unaware that "no va" means "it won't go." After the company figured out why it wasn't selling any cars, it renamed the car in its Spanish markets to the Caribe.

The Caribe, incidentally, was a Volkswagen car. (The Chevrolet Caribe was a 1966 model related to the Impala, not the Nova, which was released several years before the Nova was introduced into Latin America.)
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