How car companies got their names Part 1

How car companies got their names Part 1


Most of the people who like cars, usually know the history, or explanation, if you wish, behind  the names of each car company, but there are also many car enthusiasts that do not know those stories, so in this article we will try our best to shed some light on how each car company got its name.

How car companies got their names Part 1

1. ALFA ROMEO In 1910 a group of Milanese businessmen founded the company ALFA (Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili). In 1920, also a Milanese businessman and financier Niccola Romeo bought a big part of the company and he added his name to it.

2. ASTON MARTIN In 1914 Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford founded a small car manufacturing company. The following year they had already prepared their first product called Aston, and the name of the car’s designer was Martin.

3. AUDI Named after its founder August Horsch based on the Latin “Audi” (his surname in Latin).

4. AUSTIN The company was founded in 1905 in England by Herbert Austin. In the 1950s they were the third largest in Europe, producing 3,000 vehicles a week and had a workforce of around 20,000 people.

How car companies got their names Part 1

5. BENTLEY The Bentley Motors Ltd was founded in 1919 by WO Bentley. Bentley along with his brother, had founded in 1912 the Bentley & Bentley cars that was a small car upgrading firm. Bentley & Bentley was the first company that built the aluminum piston. The engines of Bentley & Bentley were the best placed in military aircraft of the 1st World War.

6. BENZ Its name comes from its founder Karl Benz (1844-1929).

7. BMW Acronym of Bayerische Motoren Werke (Bavarian Motor Industry) which was formalized on 20 July 1917. Until then the company was called Rapp-Motorenwerke from the name of its founder Karl Rapp. The logo is inspired by the movement of a propeller engine.

8. BUGATTI The company was founded by the Italian Ettore Bugatti in Germany in 1909, at the Alsace region and with funding from the bank Darmstaedter. Everyone has the impression that the Bugatti is French, but this is not true. Just in 1919, after the first World War, the region passed to the French and the company’s founder remained in those parts.

How car companies got their names Part 1

9.BUICK The surname of Scottish immigrant David Dumbar Buick, founder of Buick Manufacturing Company which is the ancestor of General Motors.

10. CADILLAC It takes its name from the French explorer Antoine de la Mothe, Sieur de Cadillac, who discovered Detroit.

11. CATERHAM The Caterham Cars Ltd. was founded in the city Caterham in Surrey, England.

12. CHEVROLET In 1910 William Durant a successful American manufacturer asked Louis Chevrolet, a racing driver, to help him to build and promote a new car. On November 3rd 1911 the Chevrolet Motor Car Company took shape. Although it was based primarily on William Durant he chose the name of Chevrolet because, he liked it and also he wanted to take advantage of the fact that many people knew him.

How car companies got their names Part 1

13. CHRYSLER It takes its name from the engineer Walter P. Chrysler.

14. CITROEN The surname of the founder Andre Citroen, a successful industrialist who was dealing with military equipment and immediately after the First World War started producing cars.

15. DAIHATSU In 1951 the company Hatsudoki Seizo Co. Ltd, which was founded by the professors Yoshinki and Turumi from the University of Osaka was renamed to Daihatsu Kogyo Co. Ltd ( Generator Manufacturer of Osaka). In 1974 it changed its name to Daihatsu Motor Company Ltd.

16. DAIMLER– It takes its name from Gottlieb Daimler (1834-1900).

How car companies got their names Part 1

17. DATSUN In 1912 Masujiro Hashimoto, founded the company Kwaishinsha Motor Car Company, and produced a model called DAT. Each letter of the word DAT was the initial of one of his relatives. The “D” was for Kenjoro Den, the “A” for Rokuro Aoyama and the “T” for Meitaro Takeuchi. Hashimoto wanted in this way to honor his relatives who among other things had also funded his venture. In 1926 the company merged with Jidosha Seizo. The new company was named DAT Jidosha Seizo Company Limited. In 1930 they decided to rename it to DATSON (son of DAT). Later the name was changed to DATSUN.

18. DMC DELOREAN (Ok it is not a brand, but a model name, but it is the only car that the company produced). Delorean was the surname of the company’s founder and engineer John Zachary Delorean.

19. DODGE Surname of brothers John and Horace Dodge, who were the company’s founders.

20. FERRARI The surname of its founder Enzo Ferrari (1898-1988).


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