Can We Have Plain English Please?!

  • Baffling abbreviations and terms for common features should be replaced by “plain English” explanations

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.

The car ownership and maintenance service has launched the ‘Lost in Translation’ campaign in a bid to convince garages to ditch the jargon.

It is now targeting complex abbreviations and meaningless product names that leave Brits baffled about what’s actually fitted on their car having previously questioned garage lingo.

Audi’s Mechatronics, Vauxhall’s OnStar and Mercedes’ Distronic Plus have all been called out for their meaningless names as part of a list compiled by MotorEasy.

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.

Seven of the top baffling names and terms used by car manufacturers

Jargon term Meaning
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

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’s ‘Lost in Translation’ 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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