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Auto Focus with Yemi Shobowale: Car Nicknames



Nigerians have a name for everything under the sun. Starting from objects like Motorcycles (Okada), Bread (Agege- I wonder the correlation between Agege and bread), Sachet Water (Pure water) amongst others. We have a penchant for creating monikers for things we relate with daily and eventually replace the real names of the objects.

One object that has historically been through a fair share of this naming ritual is by far the automobile. Many cars have monikers derived from their looks and events that occurred during their release into the market. These have wide acceptance by Nigerians – literate and illiterate. See the real names and the nicknames below:

BMW 3 Series or COJA

BMW 3 Series or COJA

2002 BMW 3 Series or ‘COJA’
The Federal Government bought a few at the time to commute dignitaries/sportsmen at an All African Games event it hosted in 2003 tagged ‘COJA’

Honda Civic or Thank you Daddy

Honda Civic or Thank you Daddy

1996 Honda Civic or ‘Thank you Daddy’
It was notorious for being a car gift from sugar daddies to their girlfriends.

Honda Accord or Baby Boy

Honda Accord or Baby Boy

1997 Honda Accord or ‘Baby Boy’
It was coined from the movie ‘baby boy’ it was the same car Tyrese Gibson used and notoriously ‘pimped out’ in the movie.

Honda Accord or Bulldog

Honda Accord or Bulldog

1995 Honda Accord or ‘Bulldog’
It apparently looked like a bulldog in the opinion of whoever christened it, even though I disagree. The name stuck so I guess my opinion doesn’t count.

Honda Accord or End of discussion

Honda Accord or End of discussion

2003 Honda Accord or ‘End Of Discussion’
The name was adopted due to the theme of a ‘Honda Place’ commercial on major bill boards in the city at the time.

Honda Accord or Pure water

Honda Accord or Pure water

1985 Honda Accord or ‘Pure Water’
Due to its popularity at a period, it was named ‘pure water’. I wonder where they’ve all gone to!

Honda Accord or Shut up

Honda Accord or Shut up

2007 Honda Accord or ‘Shut up’
Due to its looks, people believed it spoke for itself, and depending on what crew you roll with it’s called ‘Shut up’ or ‘Evil Spirit’.

Honda Accord or Skirach

Honda Accord or Skirach

1990 Honda Accord or ‘Skirach’
I don’t have the faintest idea where the name came from.

Mercedes-Benz 200 or Regular

Mercedes-Benz 200 or Regular

1980 Mercedes-Benz 200 or ‘Regular’
Due to its popularity it was named regular as it was normal for every privileged household to have one back then. It was also a signal showing you had arrived. After a while it became the benchmark car for aspiring businessmen and big boys.

Mercedes-Benz 190 or Baby Benz

Mercedes-Benz 190 or Baby Benz

1984 Mercedes-Benz 190E or ‘Baby Benz’
Due to its size and rarity back then it was nicknamed ‘Baby Benz’, most Mercedes’ back then were identified by their imposing size. It was quite uncommon to have a Mercedes-Benz the size of a Toyota, hence the ‘Baby Benz’ moniker.

Mercedes-Benz 200E or V boot

Mercedes-Benz 200E or V boot

1982 Mercedes-Benz 200E or ‘V-Boot’
It was easy to nickname this very car due to the ‘V’ shape formation of the boot and rear lights.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class or Shagari

Mercedes-Benz S-Class or Shagari

1985 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL or ‘Shagari’
This was the same car the then head of state Shagari used as his official car.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class or Beast

Mercedes-Benz S-Class or Beast

1993 Mercedes-Benz S500 or ‘Beast’
Due to the monstrosity (size) it was called the ‘beast’. It gave its owners a larger-than-life appeal and it was in demand by most successful businessmen and diplomats.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class or Smiley

Mercedes-Benz S-Class or Smiley

2000 Mercedes-Benz S500 or ‘Smiley’
I’m not sure this follows though but this S-Class was named ‘Smiley’ because the headlights look like a smiling face.

Toyota Corolla or Firstlady

Toyota Corolla or Firstlady

1991 Toyota Corolla or ‘First Lady’
This was a popular hit with ladies at the time.

Toyota Camry or Big for nothing

Toyota Camry or Big for nothing

2002 Toyota Camry or ‘Big For Nothing’
Its size was a clear step up from the model it was replacing – which was a lot smaller. There was a sense that it didn’t offer much despite its size.

Toyota Camry or Muscle

Toyota Camry or Muscle

2007 Toyota Camry or ‘Muscle’
This Camry model is loved by all and sundry. Tt was named ‘Muscle’ because it looks like it has muscles popping out from the design at the front-end.

Toyota Camry or Thin-light Camry

Toyota Camry or Thin-light Camry

2000 Toyota Camry or ‘Thin-Light Camry’
The long-shaped design of the rear lights, some people even call it ‘Pencil-light’ depending on how you feel I guess.

Yemi Shobowale is a Husband, Father, Businessman, Petrol-Head and Blogger. He is the editor of Auto Focus Blog, a platform that showcases automotive passion, automobile art and design, latest car news, automobile user information and lifestyle related to the automobile industry. He travels to local and international auto shows to keep abreast with happenings in the auto industry. Check more on or follow on Twitter @autofocusblog


  1. marc

    August 20, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Kudos, it’s on point.

  2. 2ndeSLASH.......

    August 20, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    WELL YOU TRIED BUT I NOTED SOME MISTAKES AND BEG TO DIFFER WUTH THE NICKNAME OF SOME OF THE CARS.LIKE The Honda Accord you called ”skinach” is actually called Honda HALA.THE other car which is TOYOTA CAMRY That u called”Thin Light” is actually called PENCIL………………….THANK YOU.

    • patrick

      August 20, 2014 at 5:19 pm

      And ‘PURE WATER’ is Golf 1

  3. bee

    August 20, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    this made me laugh…


    August 20, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    I have not heard most of the nicknames you wrote down. All the same, good effort. I call my Toyota Corolla SUNRISE. The car is a sweet ride.

  5. Bobosteke & Lara Bian

    August 20, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Had me smiling all through. Was hoping to see the infamous bitu. “beetle” featured as well

  6. Noms

    August 20, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Sooo,true. I didn’t see Spider or is it the same as muscle? Biko, Pardon m ignorance.

  7. Neo

    August 20, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    i LOLed at Pure Water and First Lady. Took me back to Uni days. the struggle was real.

  8. Enyc

    August 20, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Lol, no evil spirit , abeg which one be evil spirit?

  9. Luqman

    August 20, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    How could you miss Ijapa (Volkswagen beetle) from your collection? Brand new Regular and Ijapa were meant for average Nigerian in those days.
    Nice one!

  10. piece

    August 20, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Laughed real hard while going this… esp @first lady & @muscle, could imagine the muscles myself. lol

  11. Emeka Onuoha

    August 20, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Good one but if i may add for the Agege bread well its because their a particular bread referred to as Agege bread cos its baked and produce in that part of Lagos and it became so popular its more of a locally well barked bread without name or label so we decided to name agege bread where it originated from.

  12. Vcktor

    August 20, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    to call the ’08 accord “evil spirit”. the ‘thin light’ camry is aka Pencil and is common amongst the yahoo bois of yesteryears. funny

  13. atoskin

    August 20, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Is the Honda Accord shut up also called Evil spirit? That’s the name i know it as

    • Leemah

      August 20, 2014 at 4:35 pm

      you’re right, it is also called evil spirit.

  14. Emma

    August 20, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    loved this write up.i have always wondered about Evil Spirit….
    sending to my bobo… no be only me go lol!
    Thanks Yemi.

  15. Foluke

    August 20, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Well done, good job!

  16. Onyinye

    August 20, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Lol….this is so funny. The 2007 Toyota Camry is also known as ‘Spider’. The 2002 Toyota Camry is called Ëfi Igbo by Ibo people. The Honda you called ‘Skirach’ is also known as ‘Hala’ as already pointed out by someone. Opel and golf are also known as ‘pure water’.

  17. Fumzo

    August 20, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    Very entertaining article Yemi! Makes you marvel at the Nigerian creativity…….we just can’t let things bear there ‘rightful’ names. Great article about cars, especially as it has the appeal for even girly girls like me.

  18. b baby

    August 20, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    the Honda Accord you called “shut up” is more popularly called “Anaconda” . the honda ’08

    • patrick

      August 20, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      And the CAMRY is SPIDER

  19. Single Shalewa, Bitter Bintu!

    August 20, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    Muscle is also called Voltron. I love that car to pieces.

    Lol Nigerians, we’re a special group of people honestly. Other countries are leading in car manufacturing, we’re great at manufacturing car nicknames. #BabySteps #ILoveBeingNigerian

  20. Fols

    August 20, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Lol…great post! I’ve always wondered and marvelled about auto nicknames. You left out the Honda “Bullet”, named for its speed and the Range Rover Vogue (not the Evoque) aka “Autobiography”, so-called because if you were able to afford one, you had clearly reached the point in your life where you could write an autobiography worth reading (in fact the car says it all :)!

    • Ololajulo

      August 20, 2014 at 5:55 pm

      Autobiography ke! Rotfl…..

  21. elba

    August 20, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Nice article Yemi, brings old memories

  22. T

    August 20, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    Shobo, hilarious write-up. Floreat

  23. peaches77

    August 20, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    You missed groundnut eye!

  24. NaijaPikin

    August 20, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    i believe the honda after “end of discussion” was called “discussion continues”

  25. Bbbbbb

    August 20, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    First Lady my first car was my own range rover then

  26. gbile

    August 21, 2014 at 5:53 am

    Good read nice trip back memory lane I just remembered dose days when it was effizy for your car steering to be power steering(soft stir)…lol…regular benz steering was d best dose days

  27. Dan

    August 21, 2014 at 7:17 am

    Very Interesting article and funny as well.

  28. SpeakTheTruth

    August 21, 2014 at 10:09 am

    “Big for nothing” cracked me up =)) Nice line up. You forgot to add “Discussion Continues”

  29. Anthony D.

    October 1, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    It’s funny to hear a nick name of car. By the way nick name is just an identity that showcases the functionality of the car through its nick name.

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