Lost In Translation: 7 Baffling Names Used For Common Parts And Simple Technology

By: Motor Easy
Lost in translation 7 baffling manufacturers terms

Car manufacturers are guilty of confusing drivers with complicated names for common features and simple technology.

MotorEasy has revealed some of the most baffling lingo used by car makers as it continues its fight for “plain English” in the UK automotive industry.

We are now targeting complex abbreviations and meaningless product names that leave you baffled about what’s actually fitted on your car having previously questioned garage lingo.

Audi’s Mechatronics, Vauxhall’s OnStar and Mercedes’ Distronic Plus are meaningless names, part of the list.

Abbreviations like TPMS and ADAS are also common-place on options lists but mean very little to most drivers who are left unaware of how their cars actually work.

What Does This Mean?: Vauxhall OnStar

OnStar is the personal in-car assistant available on new Vauxhalls with crash response, roadside assistance and vehicle diagnostics included. It’s due to be turned off in 2020.  


What Does This Mean?: Audi Mechatronics

The Mechatronic unit is a posh way of saying the brain of VW Group’s DSG gearbox. It operates the clutch and gears and is derived from a combination of mechanics and electronics.


What Does This Mean?: MirrorLink

This tech allows you to hook up your mobile phone to your car’s touchscreen with big driver friendly buttons to make calls, use the sat nav and listen to music.


What Does This Mean?: ADAS

ADAS stands for advanced driver-assistance systems – essentially any of the latest tech that helps a driver. Included under the umbrella are cruise control, lane departure, autonomous emergency braking and parking systems – plus much more.


What Does This Mean?: VW Climate Windscreen

This is just a complicated way of saying it’s got a heated windscreen. It’s clever because it doesn’t have tiny wires in the glass that regular systems use but it will still just stop your windshield freezing up.


What Does This Mean?: TPMS

Stands for tyre pressure monitoring system – which has been mandatory on all new cars since 2014. It’ll keep track of your tyre pressures and alert you on the dashboard when anything is wrong.


What Does This Mean?: Mercedes Distronic Plus

This is the complicated name Mercedes gives to its semi-autonomous system. It combines automatic speed regulation with proximity control to a car traveling in front plus helps steering in a lane.

"Car manufacturers must do better when it comes to explaining what is fitted to a vehicle rather than using meaningless names and terms"

MotorEasy founder, Duncan McClure Fisher, said: “Using complex names and abbreviations might sound impressive on an options list but is simply confusing for the everyday driver.

“While garages are guilty of using baffling lingo when talking about repairs, car manufacturers must also do better when it comes to explaining what is fitted to a vehicle rather than using meaningless names and terms.

“Our ‘Lost in Translation’ campaign is focusing on making the whole industry easier to understand for everyone to build trust among drivers, manufacturers and mechanics.”

MotorEasy aims to highlight how workshops could take simple steps to improve the relationship they have with customers and increase customer loyalty as a result.


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