One obstacle that branding experts in the car industry — and their clients — face is the dwindling number of names that are still free to be trademarked.
Some carmakers — the Germans, in particular — opt to avoid the game by using alphanumeric names, like the BMW 328i and M5, the Mercedes-Benz GLA250, the Volvo S90. This can sometimes lead to confusion for Audi shoppers, who may struggle to keep straight the differences among the A3, the S3 and the RS3, or between the Q5 and the SQ5.
Mr. Placek said he tried to avoid what he called “alphabet soup.”
“There’s no memorability, and they’re hard to process,” he said