Meanings Behind Car Manufacturer Logos

By Ronnie Jones
05-10-2018

Have you ever looked at a vehicle manufacturer's logo and wondered and what went on behind the scenes to create it? Well, lucky for you we've looked at every manufacturer we currently work with and found the history and meaning behind their logos.

Abarth

Abarth Logo

This logo originated due to the star sign of the owner Carlo Abarth’s star sign being scorpio and the fact that it would be hard to imitate. At first there were no colours but later on the colours were added as a tribute to Carlo’s father’s home town of Merano.

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Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo Logo

The Italian car maker’s logo has been around since 1910, it’s unique and many people would be able to tell who owns the logo just by the two half patterns. The symbol has the cross on a white field on the left as a tribute to Milan and on the right is the famous Snake which is the symbol of one of Milan’s most significant families – the Visconti family.

If you look close you’ll see that a man is coming out of the snake’s mouth – the meaning behind this is allegedly a ‘new beginning’.

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Aston Martin

Aston Martin Logo

The Aston Martin logo hasn’t always had the iconic wings and the logo was originally just the A & M on top of each other. The famous wings of today came in in 1927 before becoming more or less then logo of today in 1930. However. The concept of the wing motif was apparently borrowed from Bentley.

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Audi

Audi logo

Audi’s logo is one of the most instantly recognizable logos in the World. Even those with no interest in case could identify the famous four rings of Audi. But what exactly do the four rings represent? Well, before Audi became Audi AG there were four different companies – the original Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer. When these four joined forces they created a logo which symbolises the four companies working in harmony – hence the connected rings.

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Bentley

Bentley Logo

There’s not much mystery to be found with the meaning behind the Bentley logo – the ‘B’ is for Bentley and the wings symbolise speed as their cars were known and are still known to be fast.

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BMW

BMW Lease

The BMW brand is one of the oldest car symbols in the world and traces its roots back to the Airplane industry around the first World War. However, once that company folded the founder of BMW Franz Josef Popp registered the name Bayerische Motoren Werke as well as a modern (a the time) roundel logo with the blue and whites of Bavaria. The timeless logo hasn’t changed much since 1917 except to make it a little bit tidier with modern effects.

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Citroen

Citroen Lease

The history of the double chevron logo of Citroen is a peculiar one and dates back to the late 1800s when the founder Andre Citroen observed a chevron shaped gear which was used in milling.

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Dacia

Dacia Lease

The Dacia logo has no hidden meaning, it’s been designed to be simple just like their cars.

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DS

DS Logo

The DS logo has been designed to give the impression of a “different spirit” with style and elegance and we feel like they’ve definitely achieved that.

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Ferrari

The Ferrari logo is one of the most instantly recognizable logo in the World. The logo is simple with the national colours of Italy at the top and the prancing horse of the original founder’s friend in black. The “S” and “F” stand for Scuderia Ferrari which is translated as stable/family/team Ferrari – Ferrari was originally and for a long time a family owned business.

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FIAT

Fiat Logo

FIAT are the initials of the company (Fabbricia Italiana Automobil Torino) and the current wreath style of the logo is to commemorate its 100th anniversary. Previously, the logo was a rhomboid logo with the initials. No hidden meaning here!

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Ford

Ford Lease

The script used for the “Ford” in the famous blue oval is from Henry Ford’s engineering assistant came up with it but they both didn’t come at once. The long tailed “F” and the “D” came in 1906 before final being paired with the oval in 1907. The logo that we know of today more or less came to be after some minor tweaks in 1927.

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Honda

Honda Logo

Honda left their imagination at the door with their automobile logo as it’s just a “H” that stands for Honda. Not the same kind of design if you consider the winged motorcycle logo.

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Hyundai

Hyundai Logo

Is the Hyundai just a slanted H to differentiate from Honda? Well, yes and no. It is indeed a H but there’s a hidden picture which is that the symbol is actually silhouettes of two men shaking hands! Amazing.

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Infiniti

Infiniti

For a change, Infinity have not put the name or their initials in the logo. Instead, the luxury Japanese carmakers have designed a logo which shows a road leading into a horizon, a logo which pays homage to Mount Fuji and a logo which has no start or end point (infinite). Interesting!

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Jaguar

Jaguar Lease

The Jaguar logo is a picture of a Jaguar.

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Jeep

Jeep Logo

The Jeep logo is just the word ‘Jeep’.

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Kia

Kia Logo

Kia is another manufacturer opting for a text-only logo.

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Land Rover

Land Rover

The Land Rover logo appears to be just text but there is a nice hidden meaning – the green signifies the earth and exploration and the two small shapes to the left and the right signify ‘above’ and ‘beyond’ another nod to the manufacturer’s reputation as a maker of explorative vehicles.

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Lexus

Lexus Logo

If you thought the Lexus logo was just an ‘L’ for Lexus then you’d be right. That’s exactly what it is. The steel finish is to accentuate their professional and luxury cars, too.

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Lotus

Lotus Logo

You’ll notice the jumble of letters in Lotus’ logo – ACBC which are the initials of the company’s founder Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman. The rest of the logo is a bit of a mystery but one of our guesses is that the green is ‘British racing’ as Lotus is known for making sporty roadsters.

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Maserati

Maserati Logo

The Maserati logo features a trident from the Fountain of Neptune in Blologna’s Piazza Maggiore which is the company’s home city.. Using this symbol in the logo was a suggestion from one of the Maserati brother’s friends and they ran with it.

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Mazda

Mazda Logo

Although the logo clearly has the ‘M’ right in the middle it still has some more hidden meanings such as the formation of wings to showcase Mazda’s desire to “soar” in the middle and many can argue they can see the face of an Owl. Take from Mazda themselves when they launched their new logo in 1998:

Capturing the spirit of Mazda, the stylised "M" evokes an image of wings in flight and symbolises the Mazda's flight toward the future. The "V" in the center of the "M" spreads out like an opening fan, representing the creativity, vitality, flexibility, and passion that is Mazda. The symbol as a whole expresses the sharp, solid feeling that Mazda will be seeking in all of its products. The dynamic circle symbolises our readiness to spread our wings as we enter the 21st century.

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Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes Logo

Before Mercedes-Benz there was DMG and Benz and CIE. Daimler used Mercedes as their name and the three-pointed star as their logo – the three points referring to Daimler’s desire to be dominant over land, sea, and air. Benz, on the other hand, used a simple circular logo with a wreath on the outside. When these two merged to become the modern-day Mercedes-Benz they simply merged their two logos together and the rest is history.

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MG Motor UK

MG Motors Logo

The MG logo is as simple as it gets with the initials of Morris Garages on it.

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Mini

Mini Logo

There’s no hidden meaning behind the Mini logo. We’ve looked everywhere.

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Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi Logo

By translating the name of Mitsubishi’s company you get a pretty good idea behind their logo’s meaning. “Mitsu” means three and “hishi” means diamond. The three diamonds stand for integrity, reliability and success – the three core pillars the company stands for.

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Nissan

Nissan Logo

Previous Nissan logos had a traditional Japanese “rising sun” in the background which has now been replaced by just the circle. The silver steel colour is there to represent modernity similar to most logos.

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Peugeot

Peugeot Logo

Unfortunately, we can not find any information as to why Peugeot chose the lion back in 1905 but what we do know is that it stands for passion and a feline-esque character. Interestingly, in modern day logos, the Lion is standing up which suggests an aggressive post.

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Porsche

Porsche Logo

Porsche’s logo is derived from two other logos, the first is the coat of arms of the Free People’s State of Wurttemberg (minus the stags) and the coat of arms of Stuttgart (the capital). Porsche cars at the time (1952) were made in Stuttgart so this was a fitting tribute.

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Renault

Renault Logo

The modern day Renault logo doesn’t have any hidden meaning as it’s simply a design from 1972 to make the logo more eye catching and up to date to modern standards. The diamond shape debuted in 1946 after the second World war and it wasn’t until 1972 that the diamond turned into the ‘donut’ shape of today.

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SEAT

SEAT Logo

The SEAT logo is simply an S.

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Skoda

Skoda Logo

The Skoda logo is one of the most unique logos in the automotive industry. The logo was designed by the original owners Laurin and Klement and depicted a native American crest. Over time the logo became an arrow with wings. To quote Skoda themselves “The arrow of precision and the wings of progress”. The logo has been green in the past but more recently silver.

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Smart

Smart Logo

SMART is a cooperation between Swatch and Mercedes with the name actually standing for Swatch Mercedes ART. The logo has a C which stands for compact and a yellow arrow to signify forward thinking. Bet you didn’t know that!

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SsangYong

Ssangyong Logo

The name SsangYong literally means twin dragons and although hard to see at first the logo represents two intertwined dragons rising into “heaven”. Despite SsangYong not being exactly a household name, we think that they’re logo is one of the most original out there.

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Subaru


Subaru has perhaps the most hidden meaning all the logos on here, especially if you’re not a fan of the Japanese brand. The name “Subaru” in Japanese is the name for a cluster of stars called “Pleiades” or “The Seven Sisters” with one of the sisters being invisible. The Subaru logo’s seven sisters are based on that cluster of stars!

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Suzuki

Suzuki Logo

The Suzuki logo is a just an “S” for the Suzuki. Boo!

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Tesla

Tesla Logo

Although at first glance the Tesla logo looks like a “T” for Tesla but it’s isn’t. The logo actually depicts a cross section of an electric motor – something that’s in all of their vehicles.

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Toyota

Toyota Logo

It’s a common myth that the Toyota logo includes every letter from the word “Toyota”. The logo according to Toyota themselves symbolizes “the unification of the hearts of our customers and the heart of Toyota products. The background space represents Toyota's technological advancement and the boundless opportunities ahead.”.

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Vauxhall

Vauxhall Logo

Vauxhall is one of the oldest vehicle manufacturing companies in the UK and the famous Griffin has been the symbol since the very beginning. The Griffin is derived from the coat of arms of Falkes de Breatue a mercenary solider who was given the Manor of Luton, in time the house he built, Fulk’s Hall became Vauxhall. Vauxhall, the company, are based in the district and paid homage the coat of arms by using it as their logo of the famous Griffin driving a stake with a V on it into the ground.

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Volkswagen

Volkswagen Logo

The Volkswagen logo is simply a V on top of the W.

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Volvo

volvo logo

The Volvo is latin for “I Roll” which suggests moving forward – in their case we assume it means moving forward with advancements etc. Now, the symbol for Volvo is a steel ring with an arrow pointing forwards alluding to “I roll” but also the symbol for Iron in homage to Sweden’s rich history in the Iron industry.

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