The Swedish Language Council dilutes the Jeep brand

The Swedish Language Council call themselves “the official language cultivation body of Sweden” and it has “no legal powers but fulfil their task through recommendations”. That means that whatever use of the Swedish language the Council recommends, most official bodies and media will conform to it. However, one of the Council’s recommendations on how to use the Swedish language is very unlucky, namely the translation of SUV to Swedish, which is translated to stadsjeep, or “city jeep”.

One could argue that it infringes on a company’s immaterial assets, in a way that might degenerate the Jeep brand name. I’ve been posting about this before, without much reaction.

On the Council’s website there is a FAQ section which contain the very question on how to translate SUV.

In Swedish:


Hur skriver man biltypen SUV så att alla förstår vad som menas?


Skriv stadsjeep.

SUV av eng. Sport Utility Vehicle är onödigt att införa.

In English:


How do you write the type of car called SUV so that everyone will understand what you mean?


Write stadsjeep/city jeep.

SUV from English Sport Utility Vehicle is unnecessary to introduce.

I think they are wrong for two reasons. First, regarding the word “stad” (city). A survey by Bil Sweden showed that SUV’s are predominantly not bought by people in the city, so the term city jeep makes little sense. Second, Jeep is a registered trademark by DaimlerChrysler and it can’t simultaneously be a registered trademark, and a generic term in the same product category.

Recently some Swedish media have started to use the term suv (pl. suvar) which is more appropriate. I could learn to use that term and hopefully the Swedish Language Council could reconsider before SUV Expo in Täby in april when a lot of media will report about “suvar”.

Consumers use blogs to get even with brands

I was reading this post on Whatsnextblog about how disgruntled former employees use the internet for revenge. A few minutes later I stumbled onto this website,, which is a blog that was “created because Saab Sweden and it’s agent in South Africa are having big problems for the last six months, and we, Saab owners, are the victims of that!” There seems to be at least 17 Saab owners committed to the blog and they claim to have had 9000 visitors during the last week.

The initial reaction is of course that this is a public relations disaster for Saab in South Africa, but because of the viral nature of blogs, these things have a tendency to spread. One post was made on the subject in a discussion forum at UK Saab owners club and traditional media reported about the site too. One wonders if Saab has a strategy in place to monitor if and how this spreads through the blogosphere?

For the record I have a Saab 9-5 and I’m very satisfied with it, but then again, I’m not in South Africa.