SANTA MONICA, California — Edmunds.com has determined that vehicles named after geographic locations don't necessarily sell better in those areas.
Edmunds identified eight "geocentric" models, pulled registration data from Polk to find out exactly where those vehicles sold best from January to August this year, and then came up with more apt (although not always better) names based on those registration figures.
For example, it probably comes as no surprise that the economy-priced Chevrolet Malibu doesn't do well in toney Malibu, California, accounting for just 0.1 percent of new-car registrations in the famous beach community this year.
But Chevy's midsize sedan made up a full 15 percent of new-car registrations in Garciasville, Texas, making that small town the most Malibu-heavy community in the country. But does anyone really want to see a "Chevrolet Garciasville"?
Similarly, the Toyota Tacoma compact pickup only accounted for 2 percent of new registrations in its Washington namesake city this year, compared to Kilauea, Hawaii, where it made up a whopping 26.5 percent. Still, it's not likely that we'll be seeing a "Toyota Kilauea" any time soon.
The Buick LaCrosse sedan sold considerably better in Kincaid, Illinois, where it logged 8.9 percent of all recent new-car registrations than it did in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, where it barely scratched the surface with a meager 0.2 percent. But, as far as we know, there's no "Buick Kincaid" on the horizon.
Chevrolet's Colorado was registered by just 0.5 percent of new-vehicle buyers in the state for which it's named, while 2 percent of shoppers in Montana opted for Chevy's midsize pickup. "Chevrolet Montana" doesn't sound nearly as bad as most other alternative names on the list, so perhaps GM would consider making a change.
On the other hand, "Dodge Castle Dale" would be a terrible name for an SUV, even though Castle Dale, Utah, rings in as the city with the heaviest concentration of new Dodge Durangos in the country, topping Durango, Colorado, 7.7 percent to 0.5 percent.
Santa Fe, New Mexico, buyers didn't do much this year to support the Hyundai Santa Fe, which accounted for only 1 percent of new registrations there. The top location for Hyundai's compact SUV turned out to be Clements, Maryland, where the model tallied 5.6 percent of new-vehicle sales. But that doesn't mean we'll be seeing a "Hyundai Clements" in showrooms.
Hyundai's Tucson didn't fare even that well in its namesake Arizona city, where it constituted a paltry 0.4 percent of new-vehicle sales. But even though buyers in Fort Garland, Colorado, and Wilmington, New York, ended up in a tie — with the Hyundai SUV making up 6.7 percent of new registrations in each — neither of those towns have names that lend themselves to a vehicle brand.
Finally, another model name that wouldn't exactly roll off the tongue is the "Kia Cedar Grove," although that West Virginia town claimed the highest concentration of new registrations for the Kia Sedona. Cedar Grove's 13 percent towered over Sedona, Arizona, where not a single buyer registered one of the Kia minivans this year.
Edmunds says: Registration data reveal some interesting facts about these vehicles, but the manufacturers should probably stick with their original model names.