Renault Group

Kadjar : what's in a name

02 February 2015
Renault Kadjar
On 2 February 2015, Renault unveiled its latest crossover —Kadjar— live on the website. This powerful, robust and energetic new car exudes Renault's vibrant personality and extends an open invitation to adventure. The name Kadjar sounds perfect for such an eminently intrepid vehicle, which previously went under the more sober code-name of HFE. To find out where the name came from, we talked with Cécile Mandonnet-Dupic, who's in charge of Renault's vehicle naming strategy.
by Renault Group

Cecile Mandonnet Dupic responsable appellations chez Renault

After graduating from the EDHEC business school, Cécile joined Renault in 2000, taking on various duties in the Sales & Marketing Department : new-vehicle and used-vehicle marketing, electric vehicles marketing coordinator, head of vehicle naming operations.

How exactly did you come up with Kadjar as the name for HFE?  

When we started the project for naming HFE, around three years ago, we were looking for something that would be coherent with the names of Renault's other crossovers, and express Renault's personality traits. As well as bringing to mind the attributes of power, strength and robustness, the name Kadjar also evokes the idea of escapade, travel and discovery. And it fits in with the other names in Renault's crossover line-up: Captur, the latest, and Koleos, which dates to 2008.

How would you explain the match between name and vehicle?  

The name Kadjar is phonetically coherent with the names of Renault's other crossovers. “Renault Kadjar” sits easily alongside “Renault Captur” and “Renault Koleos”. Style-wise, the car belongs to the Explore petal in the Design Daisy, and the name carries connotations of energy and action accordingly. Like the vehicle itself, the name Kadjar expresses the Renault personality, with the promise of a rewarding, motivational, energetic, outgoing lifestyle. The name is pleasing to the ear; it sounds solid and reassuring, consistent with the crossover's emphasis on robustness.

Kadjar Renault

How long does it take to find a name for a new car, and what does the process involve?  

Vehicle naming is a lengthy business. Around three years before a new model is released on the market the vehicle naming team meets with all the members of the vehicle project team (design, product planning, programme, marketing) to draw up precise specifications on the matter. The vehicle naming process breaks down into three main phases:

  • Draw up a shortlist of names consistent with product identity, and with Renault values and personality. Here, we work with agencies specializing in product naming. Typically, a hundred or so names will be put forward to start with. This list will then be narrowed down to a single proposal that meets specifications and complies with legal and linguistic requirements.
  • Carry out linguistic checks: Because our products have a broad international scope, we check to make sure the names are suitable in the languages of all the countries and regions where the cars will be sold. Specifically, this means examining connotations and pronuncability, plus the general impression a name produces when said in each particular language.
  • Carry out legal checks: Here we check that the name is available for registration as a brand name in all territories.

How do you know you've found the right name?

The name Kadjar, for instance, carries a sense of surprise; people are not indifferent to it. Then the name fits with the vehicle positioning and the vehicle personality. I'd say that if a name sounds right for a particular product, it's because it is coherent with the product itself, with the intention behind the product, and with the product positioning.