How wrong can you be in pronouncing three letters? Turns out, a lot. But don't worry, you are not the only one.
The thing about language is that words are derived from many sources and take a life of their own. With globalization, we are exposed to words from around the world. While we take the word and make it our own, we generally do not know the native pronunciation of the word. For instance, everyone's favorite furniture store IKEA is actually pronounced ee-kei-uh. The same goes for the names of car brands. We drive cars from Germany, France, Japan, Korea, and other countries that have brand names that are native to the country. Even if you are a car enthusiast, chances are you may have just been mispronouncing some of these brand names wrong.
Select Car Leasing, a vehicle leasing broker based in the UK, decided to make things easy for all of us and compiled a list of all the car brand names that we have been mispronouncing. Whether you like cars or not, if you want to be that person who pipes up during conversations to say, "Actually, it's pronounced Por-shuh," this might be exciting for you. It is actually quite shocking to see how wrongly we have been pronouncing some of these names. Even the popular three-lettered BMW is not what you think it is pronounced as.
How exactly do you get BMW wrong? A survey conducted by Select of 1,000 Brits showed that 95 percent of the people did not know how to pronounce BMW. If you thought it was "bee em double yoo," which seems logical, you are wrong. Turns out, in the German alphabet, W is actually pronounced as V. That would make the correct pronunciation "bee-em-vee." Only one in 20 of those who were surveyed got it right. Another car of German make, Volkswagen also has a mind-bending pronunciation. V is pronounced as F in German which would make Volkswagen's pronunciation, "fokes-vah-gun."
There were 10 other brands that were asked about in the survey and there were surprising results. Following BMW was Hyundai that 93 percent of the people did not know how to pronounce. "Hyundai’s been selling in the UK since the early ‘80s, but the South Korean builder still finds itself the second-most mispronounced on our list," the survey stated. The Brits generally pronounce it "hi-un-di." It is way off the right pronunciation which is simply "hun-day." Following Hyundai was Italian car brand Lancia. While it may look like a simple word to say, but it is actually very misleading. Most people would say “lan-see-ya” but the actual pronunciation is actually “lan-CHA.”
Now that we know how to pronounce Lancia, Dacia should be easy. It looks like you pronounce it as "day-see-ah," but we now know it is "dah-chah." Volkswagen's parent company, VW Group, also owns Porsche and Škoda. Porsche is a German company while Škoda is a Czech automobile manufacturer. A lot of us may have already been schooled to pronounce Porsche by Joey from Friends who rightly said to add an "ah" at the end and you’ve got it, a "porsh-ah." Škoda on not that hard either. Notice the accent above the S. This implies a "sh" sound, so it’s actually pronounced "shkoh-dah." But 89 percent of the respondents got it wrong.
The survey also said, "Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg – deliberately misspelled by Jeremy Clarkson and co on Top Gear – may also look like a tongue twister, but don’t let its 10 characters throw you. Here, the correct method is koh-nig-zegg – note the double G at the end for extra emphasis." You can actually visit the website to hear the correct pronunciation for yourself. Here is the list of the car brand names and how to pronounce them: