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Ultimate Guide to Car Name Origins/Meanings

Ever wondered how car brands come up with car names? This could help...

pajero name badge

What do car model names mean? Where do they come from? It’s quite interesting to look at how the different car manufacturers came up with the model names for all the various cars available on the market.

We thought we would create a page where we can gather all the car name meanings/origins together for the different model names and continue to add to it over time.

This could take us a little time, so continue to come back to keep an eye on our progress.

Our Ultimate Guide to Car Name Meanings/Origins:

ALFA ROMEO

  • Stelvio – Named after the Stelvio Pass in Italy

BENTLEY

  • Bentayga – Inspired by Taiga, the world’s largest transcontinental snow forest

FERRARI

  • Berlinetta – Italian for ‘little saloon’
  • Dino – Named in honour of Enzo Ferrari’s son, Dino Ferrari
  • Fiorano – Honours the Fiorano circuit, a test track Ferrari uses
  • Mondial – French word for ‘world’ or ‘global’
  • Scaglietti – Named in honour of Ferrari coach-builder, Sergio Scaglietti
  • Scuderia – Scuderia means ‘stable in Italian
  • Testarossa – Italian for ‘redhead’

FORD

  • Cortina – Named after an Italian Ski Resort
  • Fairlane – The name of the estate of Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford

HAVAL

  • Haval – A male name with Arabic origins that means ‘best friend’

HOLDEN

  • Camira – From an Aboriginal word meaning ‘wind’
  • Commodore – Naval rank
  • Equinox – The bi-annual moment when day and night are of approximately equal duration all over the planet
  • Gemini – The third astrological sign in the zodiac
  • Torana – From an Aboriginal word meaning ‘to fly’

LAMBORGHINI

  • Aventador – A bull who caused a stir in the bull-fighting crowd in the early 1990s
  • Countach – An Italian word meaning ‘Wow’
  • Urus – A ‘Urus’ is an extinct, shaggy, long-horned wild ox

LEXUS

  • CT – Stands for ‘Creative Touring’
  • GS – Stands for ‘Grand Sedan’
  • IS – Stands for ‘Intelligent Sports’
  • LS – Stands for ‘Luxury Sedan’
  • RX – Stands for ‘Radiant Crossover’
  • SC – Stands for ‘Sports Coupe’

MITSUBISHI

  • Lancer – A soldier of a cavalry regiment armed with lances
  • Pajero – Named after the pampas cat (leopardus pajeros)

NISSAN

  • JUKE – Inspired by the Juke Box music player
  • Murano – A group of islands near Venice, Italy
  • Navara – A female name with Arabic origins
  • Pulsar – A type of star
  • QASHQAI – A group of nomadic Iranian herders

RENAULT

  • Kadjar – Created name aimed at evoking the idea of escapade, travel and discovery
  • Megane – Japanese word for ‘glasses’
  • Zoe – A take on the French word ‘osé’ meaning daring or risque

SKODA

  • Kodiaq – A Kodiak is a bear commonly found in Alaska. The ‘q’ on the end is a tribute to the native Alutiiq people who call the bear “Taq uka ‘aq”
  • Octavia – Latin word meaning ‘Born Eighth’

SUBARU

  • Impreza – From the Italian word ‘impresa’ meaning a badge or motto

TOYOTA

  • 86 – A reference to the model code AE86
  • Avalon – A mythical island paradise in Celtic legends
  • C-HR – Not defined, either – Compact High Rider, Cross Hatch Run, or Coupe High Rider
  • Camry – from Japanese word meaning ‘crown’
  • Celica – Spanish for ‘celestial’ or ‘heavenly’
  • Coaster – A coaster is a ship used to carry cargo along the coast from port to port
  • Corolla – The ring of petals around the central part of a flower
  • Corona – The ring of pearly light around the sun
  • DYNA – Short for ‘dynamic’
  • FJ Cruiser – Combination of ‘FJ40 and ‘LandCruiser’
  • HiAce – Combines ‘high’ and ‘ace’ signifying that this vehicle surpasses its predecessor, the Toyoace
  • HiLux – A combination of ‘high’ and ‘luxury’
  • Kluger – Comes from the German adjective ‘klug’ which means wise or smart
  • MR2 – Stands for ‘midship runabout 2-seater’
  • Prado – Portuguese word for ‘meadow’ or ‘field’
  • Prius – Latin for ‘prior’ or ‘previous’
  • RAV4 – An acronym of Recreational Active Vehicle with 4-wheel-drive
  • Soarer – A high-performance glider
  • Starlet –  A small star burning brightly
  • Supra – Comes from the Latin word meaning transcending or above
  • Tarago – Named after the Australian town of Tarago, New South Wales
  • Tercel – A peregrine falcon

Volkswagen

  • Golf – Named after the Gulf Stream (wind)
  • Jetta – Derived from ‘Jet stream’
  • Passat – A trade wind
  • Sirocco – A Mediterranean wind

Also from behindthewheel.com.au...




About Joel Helmes 3779 Articles
Joel is the founder and CEO of Behind the Wheel. Joel has a background as a radio broadcaster with on-air roles at 4BC, 4KQ, 2KY, 2LT and 2UE amongst others, as well as a news editor and program director. Joel’s relationship with cars stems back to his early childhood learning to change oil and brakes with his father and uncle. This continued on into his driving years owning an assorted collection of cars.

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