What do Avante, Equus, Tucson, Santa Fe, Veracruz, Sorento, Prius and Murano have in common? They are names of cars and gesture with varying degrees of success in the direction of Latin languages. Does Hyundai's Avante, for example, allude to the Spanish for "forward" or "ahead"? Does Hyundai's luxury sedan Equus have the power of a Latin horse? Hyundai's Tucson, Santa Fe and Vera Cruz are all for some reason named after places on the U.S.-Mexican border, perhaps because of the holiday associations or the suggestion of scorched open spaces. A Hyundai spokesman said the idea is to convey a "luxurious image" of "driving pleasure." Kia, meanwhile, claims the name Opirus alludes to the Latin Ophir Rus, a mythical place that means the land of jewels. And the Sorento SUV is named for the picturesque coastal town near Naples spelled with an extra "r." Hyundai's Sonata and Kia's Forte are named after Italian musical terms. In Japan, Toyota's Prius, the leader in eco-friendly cars, suggests a vaguely Latinate idea of something that comes first. Sohn Hye-won of brand identity design company Crosspoint offers a clue to the fad when she says, "Cars are a fashion item that excites passion. That is why many of them are given Spanish or Italian names, because these languages convey a romantic and passionate image."