- No, this isn't a JDM. Photo credit: Anastase Maragos on Unsplash

Car Terminology Needs a Reset

Am I the only one who notices this?


Ok, something that has been (weirdly) bothering me is how people refer to different types of cars. Let me explain; JDM stands for 'Japanese Domestic Market', which means something only sold in Japan. Except cars like the MK4 Supra and NSX are referred to like that, but they are not actually true JDM's, technically speaking


Sorry @Evan Andrews for using your car as the example Photo credit: Jan Kopřiva on Unsplash

Sorry @Evan Andrews for using your car as the example Photo credit: Jan Kopřiva on Unsplash

Now SUV is the stupidest term around. Take the BMW X7 for example. Is it sporty? No. Is it a utility vehicle? No way. Is it a vehicle? Well, yes. Now, have I come up with a term to replace SUV? No. Try it, it is harder than you think. A real SUV is a performance truck. Sporty, check. Utility vehicle, check. Vehicle, check. So why are "SUVs" called that?

After a bit of research, I learned that AMC wanted the government to create a class for a vehicle that was in between a passenger car and a truck. Bet they didn't expect subcompact SUVs like the Toyota CH-R. So basically, they wanted to create a truck without a bed and capacity for more people. How did this work and turn into what it is today?!

Why doesn't this apply to sedans, coupe's, etc.?

A short answer is because those aren't acronyms. For example, 'sedan' isn't a common misconception. It is just the word for that type of car. Back to 'JDMs', those are misconceptions because of what JDM stands for and how people use it. And that is the whole reason I wrote this article. So basically, I am getting pissed off about definitions. Yeah.


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Comments (15)

  • People also need to stop using the words "Overrated" and "Underrated" to describe their favorite cars.

      3 months ago
    • Yeah made an article about that. I sort of disagree because people should get their own opinions but it does get very annoying sometimes. I think overhyped is a better term to use.

        3 months ago
    • Yeah over hyped is good, and under appreciated is another.

        3 months ago
  • I don’t disagree with you but these terms have been around too long I feel like, so it would be hard to get rid of them. Good write up though and you should make more.

      3 months ago
  • Whether or not it is stupid is up to you, but I think terminology evolves, whether or not these are acronyms or official designations. The terms we have now might not have the same meaning in the next few years.

    For example, we generally accept that the term "muscle car" refers to "an intermediate-sized car fitted with a large displacement V8 engine." But more traditional definitions have stricter criteria such as that the car needs to be American-made, built for the drag strip, has two doors, or and/or built in the 60s and early 70s. If we go by those definitions today, many cars that we consider muscle cars nowadays (such as the Dodge Charger, 1963 Holden EH S4, the latest Mustang Shelby GT350 and GT500, and pretty much any other muscle car from the 80s onwards) wouldn't be classified as muscle cars.

    Another thing I observed is that as terms evolve, they become more loosely defined. Such is the case with the term "supercar." Back in the 60s, Americans used it to refer to what we now know as muscle cars (and they spelled the term with a capital "S"). From the '70s to the 90s, on the other hand, the term was already in common use. Its criteria included having a mid-engine, two seats, catchy looks, at least eight cylinders, through-the-roof performance, and very limited production (which, in today's standards, generally defines a hypercar). Nowadays, only some of the criteria stated above are used (albeit usually not as strictly enforced) while others are scrapped. Whichever among them are used depends on the person. This is why you can see people arguing whether or not the GT-R, the Huracan, the Alfa Romeo 4C, and even the Bentley Continental GT (I even found one article that says that this car isn't a sports car) are supercars

      3 months ago
  • As SUVs are not capable of offroading and not sporty nor do they make any sense whatsoever, they are just "Karenmobiles", so KMs is my acronym. MPVs have a similar issue. I mean a Lamborghini Aventador SVJ is a multipurpose vehicle for crying out loud.

      3 months ago
  • SUVs came about as a size class that the EPA would treat as a light truck (for more lax fuel economy regulations) but still had the space and setup as a car.

      3 months ago
    • Those subcompact trucks fit the bill more than any SUV would, though. And the U.S. government doesn’t always make the right decisions…

        3 months ago