Feature: 10 car brands you and your friends are pronouncing wrongly


The one thing Malaysians are truly good at is the art of mispronunciation (some can’t even spell pronunciation correctly!). Car brands such as Peugeot, Renault, Citroen and Volkswagen are some of the most commonly desecrated, so let’s see how well you and your friends score in this game of 10.


i. Audi

As surprising as this sounds, Audi is easily one of the most mispronounced brand among Malaysians. You’re supposed to say ‘ow-dee’, not ‘o-dee’. It’s Latin, not German nor English.


ii. BMW

Yeah, we’re all guilty of the alphabetical phonation, but the Germans say it as ‘bay-em-vay’. There’s probably no right or wrong here since ‘bee-em-dub-u’ is now a globally accepted way of speech, but it’s a fun fact most of us wouldn’t have known.


iii. Chevrolet

Chevrolet is not quite the popular choice among Malaysians, but the name and company have been around longer than BMW. The next time you pass by a Chevy showroom, make it a point to say ‘shev-ruh-ley’ instead of ‘shev-row-let’. Silence the t.


iv. Citroen

I love the French brands. Nobody seems to get it right the first time, neither did I. Here’s how you say it: ‘see-twuh-en’.


v. Hyundai

This one is also not as straightforward as it seems. It’s not ‘hyun-die’. The right way of pronouncing it is ‘huh-yoon-dei’. Say dei like you’re calling your macha.


vi. Lamborghini

Everyone dreams of one, but how many actually pronounce it right? The correct way is ‘lam-ber-gini’, not ‘lam-bor-gini’ or worse, ‘lamb-or-jini’. Now go school that know-it-all ah beng.


vii. Lamborghini Gallardo

I’ve got to throw this one in for free. Stop calling it the ‘ga-lar-doh’. It’s a legendary machine (their best selling supercar!) that deserves no other lingual variations other than Spanish – ‘guy-ar-dough’.


viii. Mercedes-Benz

This German brand is now the default go-to choice for many enterprising individuals in Malaysia, but somehow their bank accounts seem to be more proficient than their diction. It’s pronounced ‘mer-say-deez-benz’, not ‘mer-see-dis-benz’. Some of the local favourites are ‘mah-se-li’ or ‘ben-si’, which are both equally ghastly.


ix. Peugeot

Of all the entries in this list, this brand takes the cake. And of course it had to be French. I grind my jaw every time I hear someone say ‘pee-jot’! For the love of God, stop. It’s ‘puh-jio’. There, I improvised it since everyone loves saying bo-jio.


x. Renault

Renault is by far the easiest of the French trio to pronounce. Instead of saying it like it is, try the correct way of pronouncing it: ‘re-no’. Not ‘ri-no’ or ‘ree-no’, but ‘re-no’ like the word ravenous.


xi. Porsche

Since BMW doesn’t technically count, here’s the 11th entry to this list. Don’t say it as ‘porsh’ or ‘por-shay’ or ‘porch’ (yes I’ve heard the latter one too many times). Go all the way – ‘por-sha’.

And oh, the Porsche Cayenne is actually pronounced exactly like the cayenne pepper – ‘kay-yen’ and not ‘kai-yen’.


xii. Volkswagen

Admit it. You don’t want me to stop. Very well then. Let’s close off with a brand all of us are wary of (haha!). Instead of pronouncing the v, do it the right way, with an f. It’s ‘folks-va-gen’.

Now that I’ve spared you a lifetime of self-inflicting humiliation, why don’t you spread the word and edify your peers in the process? If you think you can contribute to this list, drop your thoughts in the comments section and I will gladly produce a sequel. Sorry if I got you tongue tied!


Matthew H. Tong

Matthew H. Tong

A straightforward, fun-loving guy who appreciates the superficiality of a car's appeal, but his admiration for anything on four wheels gives him no reason to neglect the makings of a car. He still believes that fun comes with three pedals and a stick.
  • shit car hater

    I have one for you – Proton, pronounced as shit-mobile !!

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