When Nissan launched the Qashqai in South Africa years ago, I thought it would not sell because the name was too difficult to pronounce. How wrong I was. How well the Qashqai sold!
Qashqai means ‘horse with white forehead’ and is the name of a semi-nomadic tribe in Iran. The Qashqai is renowned for its brave warriors and beautiful textiles. But why name a car after it?
When creating a new product, we often assign a personality to it. This could be masculine or feminine, sensuous or sporty, fast or luxurious, rugged or precious, young or mature, but never old. Except for Spice. It could be an emotion, or something abstract, or even something to yearn for.
This personality is often personified in a name, which may or may not become the final name of the product. This may sound pretentious, but it is actually very important. Creating a new car takes years and requires the skills and toil of highly trained professionals across many different disciplines. So whether you are choosing the seat covering or deciding on the gearbox, it will help if you have a personality to measure your decisions against.
Qashqai, nomadic Iranian tribe, Iran was Persia, horses and textiles – carpets? Freedom, movement, grace, beauty. You get the idea. Qashqai embodies the spirit of the ancient nomad, embodied to allow the 21st Century you to explore new boundaries. Or something like that. It gives those who design the car a vision to work with. And this really works.
Nissan kept the name and their introductory advertising campaign focussed on how to pronounce Qashqai. Whether it was the campaign or the car, the Qashqai was an instant success in South Africa.
Slightly smaller than the beloved Nissan X-Trail, the Qashqai nonetheless offered acres of space, plenty of tech features and a nippy, but comfortable ride. And with its off-the-tarmac capabilities, just the car to explore said new boundaries. Or go shopping and collect the kids.
In the six or so years the Qashqai has been with us, it has seen numerous upgrades and facelifts. Whereas the venerable 2014 model was a tad utilitarian in looks, the new 2020 version is a really good looking car.
The headlights are thinner and wider, giving a more focussed gaze. The horizontal lines along the doors and roof run downward to the front in a gentle wave, giving the impression of latent motion.
The new Qashqai is loaded with features. If you choose the Acenta-trim and up, you will get cruise control, hands-free Bluetooth, all the kinds of music, 6 Airbags, ABS, EBD, BAS, hill start assist, 7” Touch Screen with Android and Apple, reverse camera, blind spot alter, cross-traffic alert, emergency braking and collision warning. All in all a great package to take you where you need to go.
Don’t know the new Qashqai? Have a look. Don’t know how to pronounce it? Just point your finger and say: “I want that one.”