Have you ever looked at the badge on the front of your car and wondered what on earth it was supposed to mean? Ultimately the purpose of the logo is to inspire trust and confidence in a company’s product. It must be iconic, bold and recognisable, whilst representing power and prestige. Some logos even have historical significance or relate to the company’s story.
We’ve found some fascinating facts about some of our favourite car logos (some are much easier to work out than others), so here is a little bit of history for you!
Before BMW manufactured cars and motorbikes, they were a major supplier of airplanes to the German government in the early 1900’s. The BMW logo is widely believed to represent white propellers spinning against a blue sky because of this history, however this is a common misconception. The logo actually predates airplane production by about a decade and actually evolved from the emblem of Rapp Motorenwerke, which later grew into BMW. The colours represent those of the Bavarian flag.
Volvo means “I roll” in Latin, suggesting Volvo’s aim was effortless transportation. Their symbol, the circle with an upwards pointing arrow, is the ancient chemical symbol for iron and also a symbol to represent the Roman God of War. All the connotations of this emblem suggest power, masculinity and strength.
Subaru’s six stars are a reference to Plaiedes, a cluster of stars within the constellation Taurus. The name ‘Subaru’ actually means Taurus in Japanese, and Subaru are the first to use a name derived from their own language. Although, the constellation is made up of 14 stars – so why does their logo only have six? The five smaller stars represent the five companies that merged to form Fuji Heavy Industries (parent company of Subaru) while the sixth large star represents the larger, unified company.
The name ‘Mazda’ derives from Ahura Mazda, a god of wisdom, intelligence and harmony in early western Asian civilizations. The creator was Rei Yoshimara, and Mazda themselves have explained their reasoning behind the design;
“The brand symbol expresses Mazda’s dedication to continuous growth and improvement. It is a
symbolic development of the Mazda “M”, and shows the company stretching its wings as it soars
into the future.”
Legend has it that the founder of Chevrolet, William C. Durant, was inspired by a wallpaper design in a French hotel he was staying at which featured the ‘bow-tie’ like pattern, so tore a piece off and took it when he left. His wife, however, tells a different story. She claims the emblem was first seen by her and her husband in a Virginia newspaper during a vacation in 1912, upon which he commented on how it would make a good logo for Chevrolet. We’re not sure which story to believe… are you?!
One of the most iconic brand logos of all time, the prancing black horse is instantly recognised all over the world to represent Ferrari. It was originally the emblem of WW1 flying ace Francesco Baracca who painted it on the side of his plane for good luck. After he died, his mother persuaded Enzo Ferrari to continue using the logo in Baracca’s memory on his Alfa Romeo race cars. Later, when Ferrari came to own his own car company, he kept the logo and it has evolved into the emblem we know today. The bright yellow background is said to represent the colour of Ferrari’s birthplace, Modena.
Italian Ferruccio Lamborghini, the founder of the luxury car company Lamborghini, was said to have a passion for bull-fighting which is apparent in the company logo – the iconic charging bull. Not only that but Lamborghini himself was a Taurus, which adds to the significance of the badge. He went on to name almost all of his cars after a particular breed of fighting bull…
The Jalpa of 1982 was named for a bull breed, the Diablo for the Duke of Veragua’s ferocious bull famous for fighting an epic battle against “El Chicorro” in Madrid in 1869. Murcielago, the legendary bull whose life was spared by “El Lagartijo” for his performance in 1879. Gallardo, named for one of the five ancestral castes of the Spanish fighting bull breed and Reventon, the bull that defeated young Mexican torero Félix Guzmán in 1943. The Estoque concept of 2008 was named for the estoc, the sword traditionally used by matadors during bullfights.