An eye-catching car logo is far more than just an interesting design or symbol; it's a mark of identity and any car enthusiast should be able to name the brand by its symbol. Car logos are designed to represent everything a car company stands for.
For example, Alfa Romeos are stunning Italian cars with a rich history that induce a feeling of aristocracy and class, so it makes sense that its symbol was inspired by the coat of arms of the noble House of Visconti.
The Toyota logo represents the company's No. 1 priority: their customers. The three overlapping ovals represent a steering well, the customers' expectations and car manufacturer's ideal. Lastly, the outermost oval represents the world embracing the brand.
Car logos are essential to the success of a company because it must be something that stands out, is recognizable and is illustrative of a company's ideals. Some people estimate that car enthusiasts' make up at least half of the world's population. Are you one of those car aficionados? If so, then you should be able to identify a car by its logo. Think you can identify a car logo faster than any of your friends? Prove it by taking — and then challenging them to take — this quiz!
Mazda can be traced back to the foreman of the Toyo Cork Kogyo company in Hiroshima, Japan in 1920. After a name change in 1927 to Toyo Kogyo, the company initially manufactured machine tools under the brand name Toyo. In 1931, the company produced its first three-wheeler, called the Mazda-Go. Their first passenger car, the R360 coupe, was introduced in 1960.
In 1902, Henry M. Leland, Lemuel Bowen and William Murphy founded Cadillac. Interestingly, it was named after Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, a French explorer credited with founding Detroit. Cadillac is synonymous with innovation and was the first company to introduce electric starters in 1912.
Lexus is the luxury division of Japanese car manufacturer, Toyota. In 1983, Toyota Chairman Eiji Toyoda wanted his company to create the best car in the world. It took more than six years and costs rising to more than $1 billion, but the effort resulted in the Lexus LS 400, a luxury sedan. More models followed, and today, Lexus is widely respected as one of the best luxury cars on the global market.
Audi was founded in 1909 by August Horch. The company was first known as August Horch Automobilwerke, but changed to Audi Automobilwerke a short while later, with Audi the Latin translation of his surname. The company has made some legendary cars, none more so than the Audi Quattro which dominated the world rally scene in the 1980s with its unique all-wheel-drive system.
With a factory of 200 workers, Ferdinand Porsche set out to make motor cars in 1948. He was certainly not new to the game, having been an engineer at Daimler-Benz since the 1930s. The first Porsche off the production line, the 356, only offered 59 horsepower but was noted for its excellent handling. The engine was found in the rear of the vehicle, a characteristic found in every model since.
The Bentley Motor Company was founded in 1919 by two brothers. Racing success soon followed, with a win at a 24-hour race in Le Mans, France. Their vehicles became very popular among the elite in Britain. Further success in Le Mans followed from 1927 to 1930, but the company struggled financially during the Great Depression and was bought by the British Central Equitable Trust, a company owned by Rolls-Royce. To this day, Bentley cars are synonymous with luxury and prestige, with each car featuring the famous winged "B" hood ornament.
As one of the most famous car makers in the world, Mercedes built its first car in 1901. It was an open two-seater with a 35-horsepower motor. The famous three-spoke star was introduced in 1909. The automaker dominated open-wheel racing in the1930s. Today, Mercedes is the top team in Formula 1, with four world championships in a row, from 2014 to 2017. The company continues to make some of the best road cars on the planet.
Although Nissan made an assortment of vehicles in Japan in the 1930s, they only started exporting to the United States in 1958, where today around a quarter of the vehicles produced by the company are sold. Nissan also has a luxury brand, Infiniti. Interestingly, the company was involved in the Japanese space program and built rocket engines.
Founded in 1909, Bugatti has made some of the world's most iconic cars; none more so than the Veyron, which boasts a 16-cylinder engine capable of producing more than 1,000 horsepower. It has a top speed of over 250 mph.
Chevrolet was founded in 1911 by Louis Chevrolet and the founder of General Motors, Billy Durant. The company logo, the Chevy bowtie, is one of the most recognizable on the planet and was introduced to the brand in 1913 by Durant. Its shape has never changed in more than 100 years.
Fiat, or Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino, was founded by a group of investors led by Giovanni Agnelli in 1899. Soon, the company had produced its first vehicle, the Fiat 4 HP, in 1900. By 1908, the first Fiat factory in America was opened. Even though the vehicles sold for much more than their American counterparts, they were popular and were seen as a luxury item. Perhaps the most famous model produced by the company is the 1950s Fiat 500. In fact, a more modern version was released in 2007.
A division of Dodge and produced by Chrysler, Ram trucks were introduced in 1981, although Dodge had been building trucks for decades prior. A range of models has been manufactured over the years, all featuring the iconic ram's head logo.
In a little over 50 years, South Korea's Hyundai has become the third largest motor manufacturer in the world, in terms of sales. The company was formed in 1967 and manufactured its first car the following year, in conjunction with Ford. In 1975, the company designed and manufactured the first mass-produced Korean vehicle, the Pony. Today, Hyundai employs over 75,000 staff and sells vehicles in 193 countries.
Land Rover was originally built by Rover from 1948 until 1978 when the company Land Rover was formed. Interestingly, the very first models of the vehicle had the steering wheel in the center of the console. The original design of the vehicle was drawn on a Welsh beach by designer Maurice Wilks.
The first Peugeot vehicle was unveiled in 1889 at the Paris World's Fair by Armand Peugeot. With fuel restrictions enforced in France during the Second World War, Peugeot actually produced an electric car, the VLV, in 1942. The brand remains popular in Europe and throughout the world.
The Chrysler brand is one of the most famous American car manufacturers, synonymous with brands such as Jeep and Dodge. In 1921, Walter P. Chrysler joined the ailing Maxwell Motor Company. In 1923 he bought full control of the company, with a name change to Chrysler occurring in 1925. By that time, cars were already being manufactured for the American market.
A subsidiary of Honda, Acura is considered the luxury arm of the famous Japanese automaker. Acura vehicles were first launched in Canada and the United States in 1986. The first two vehicles introduced to these markets were the Integra and the Legend. They performed so well in terms of sales that Nissan and Toyota decided to introduce their own luxury brands into the same markets.
Interestingly, the story of Alfa Romeo starts in 1906 with a Frenchman, Alexandre Darracq, who teamed up with some investors from Italy to form the company, Societa Anonima Italiana Darracq (SAID.) With a factory in Milan, the company struggled to make a profit. More Italian investors joined and the company name was changed to Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili (ALFA) and the first vehicle was produced in 1910.
The start of the BMW motor company can be traced back to 1916 when companies owned by Karl Rapp and Gustav Otto merged. The famous logo, which sports the colors of Bavaria, was first used in 1917 and has barely changed over the years. Although they initially made airplane engines, the company started making motorcycles after the First World War, followed by their first vehicles in 1928. Today, BMW cars and motorcycles are popular the world over.
This Chinese vehicle manufacturer is a state-owned corporation and was founded in 1997. Chery is a brand associated with many emerging markets and is found in South Africa, Egypt, Malaysia, Russia, Iran and the Philippines to name a few. By 2007, more than one million models had been produced worldwide and the brand continues to build.
Rolls-Royce formed in 1904, a collaboration between engineer Henry Royce and Charles Rolls, who owned one of the first car dealerships in the United Kingdom. Their first vehicle, the Silver Ghost, hit the market in 1907. Rolls-Royce cars are synonymous with luxury and each vehicle includes the iconic "Spirit of Ecstasy" hood ornament. Interestingly, as of 2016, Hong Kong has the highest number of these, per capita, in the world.
Subaru was founded by Kenji Kita in Japan in 1953. The name stems from the Japanese term for the Pleiades star cluster and the company logo appropriately features six stars. Modern Subaru vehicles feature all-wheel drive systems. The company dominated the World Rally Championships in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Founded in 1963 by Bruce McLaren, a Formula One racing driver from New Zealand, McLaren is one of the greatest names in the sport. The team has won 182 races, as well as eight World Championships in their history. In 1992, they released their first ever road car, the legendary McLaren F1. The company has also been involved with Mercedes; together the two heavyweights produced some impressive models, including the SLR McLaren and the SLR MSO. Further McLaren road cars have followed, including the MP4 and the P1.
The history of Suzuki can be traced back more than 100 years, but it was only in the 1950s that the company diversified, first producing motorcycles and then from 1955, motor vehicles. The first car produced by the company was known as the Suzulight and today Suzuki is one of the top ten global car producers in the world.
Infiniti is the luxury brand from the Japanese automaker, Nissan. Launched in 1989, the idea behind the brand was to produce vehicles that challenged American and European luxury designs. The brand started with two models, the Q45 sedan and the M30 coupe, aimed at those looking for a luxury performance model. Infiniti launched across the United States with 51 dealers and quickly became leaders in customer satisfaction. Sales were strong and, by 2003, Infiniti was the fastest growing vehicle brand in the United States.
Tesla is new to the vehicle manufacturing game, founded in 2003 in Silicon Valley by a group of engineers wanting to push the agenda for electric-powered vehicles. They were inspired by legendary Serbian-American inventor, Nikola Tesla, and their first drive train was built with an AC induction motor designed by Tesla in 1888 in mind. This first vehicle, the Tesla Roadster, was capable of incredible performance and a range of 245 miles per charge, with more than 2,400 units sold. It was followed by a sedan, the Model S, as well as an expanded network of fast charging points across the United States.
As with many car companies, South Korea's KIA began life in the mid-1940s, manufacturing bicycle parts under the name Kyungsung Precision Industry. In 1951, the company started making full bicycles, changing its name to KIA. Soon they moved to manufacturing motorcycles, then trucks and passenger vehicles.
In December 1914, five Italian brothers, the Maseratis, founded the Officine Alfieri Maserati company. After initially focusing on tuning cars to improve performance, the brothers built their first car in 1926, the Tipo 26. It featured their now-famous logo, a crest including a trident. It was an immediate success, winning the first race it was entered into, and the Maserati legend was born.
A joint venture between Robert Bamford and Lionel Martin, the history of this car manufacturer can be traced back to 1913. The company was initially called Bamford & Martin Ltd, but quickly became known as Aston Martin, thanks to a successful outing at the Aston Hill Climb in 1914.
Henry Ford started the Ford Motor Company in 1903. Ford was not new to motor vehicles; he had built his first gas-powered vehicle in 1896. It was his introduction of the Model T Ford into the market in 1908 that changed vehicle production forever. The demand for the "Tin Lizzy," as the Model T became known, became so high that Ford started to incorporate mass production methods in its manufacture. This included interchangeable parts, as well as the use of moving assembly lines. Ford also introduced the $5 eight-hour working day for his workers to help keep up with production demands. Today, Ford is one of the most famous automakers in the world.
Saab, established in 1937, originally started out producing aircraft; to this day, it remains a large part of their operations. Towards the end of the Second World War, the company realized they would need to find something else to produce. Their first vehicle, the Saab 92, entered production in 1949, followed by the Saab 93 in 1955. This became the first model to be exported, most notably to the United States.
The history of Mitsubishi can be traced back to the 1870s and originally starts with shipbuilding. The first car produced by the company is the Model A in 1917, while with the clouds of war gathering in the 1930s, the company produced a four-wheel-drive passenger car, the PX33, for military use. During the 1940s, Mitsubishi built aircraft for the war effort (including the famous "Zero"). After the conflict, focus returned to vehicle manufacturing. The company has made some very popular vehicles over the years, including the EVO and Pajero.
Jaguar started out as the Swallow Sidecar Company in 1922. It was only after the Second World War that the name was changed to Jaguar, and the company focus shifted to making sports cars, although they had produced the SS 90 and SS 100 vehicles in the 1930s. Jaguars feature an intricate hood ornament of a jumping jaguar cat. This is known as the Leaper.
Toyota started out under the auspices of Sakichi Toyoda in 1921 as the Toyoda Spinning and Weaving Works, and just a few years later, the company started venturing into vehicle manufacturing. By 1937, a vehicle had been designed and produced, the Model AA. Toyota Motor Company was born soon after and initially only produced vehicles in Japan. In 1959, production started in Brazil, and soon, the rest of the world followed, with Toyota becoming one of the top ten car companies on the planet.
Honda is among the 10 biggest vehicle manufacturers in the world. In 1986, they were also the first Japanese automaker to launch a luxury brand, Acura, in the United States. Today, the company makes vehicles, motorbikes and aircraft.
With a history which goes back to the 1950s, the MINI is one of the world's most iconic brands. The initial design, by Alec Issigonis, went into production in 1959 with the MINI Cooper, an extremely popular model. It was named the greatest British car of all time in a poll carried out by Autocar in 2012. Modern MINIs are far larger, with the brand now owned by BMW.
The first car produced by Volvo, the ÖV 4 (or "Jakob"), left the production line in 1927. Interestingly, the name Volvo derives from the Latin and means "I roll" when applied to the Volvo brand. In 1959, Volvo became the first vehicle manufacturer to include safety belts in their vehicles as standard.
In 1994, a Swede, Christian von Koenigsegg, decided to produce the fastest vehicle in the world. In 2005, he saw his dream come true as the Koenigsegg CCR reached 388.87 km/h (241.63 mph), making it the fastest production car in the world. Koenigsegg continues to develop incredible hypercars, including the Agera R, the Regera and the One:1.
Saturn vehicles started out as a project of General Motors in 1982. The brand was initially started to develop models to compete with the imported vehicles flooding the American market. By 1990, a dealership network was fully established as Saturns rolled off the production line. Despite problems and recalls, by 1995 more than one million vehicles had been produced and even launched in Japan. The brand ended in 2009 when a deal to sell to Roger Penske fell through.
André Citroën, the man behind the Citroën brand, initially started out manufacturing double helical gears, the distinct V shapes of which form part of the Citroën logo today. The first Citroën car — the Type A — was produced after the war, in 1919, with André Citroën employing many mass manufacturing techniques new to Europe, and soon his company was producing 100 vehicles each day.
Without a doubt, Ferrari is one of the most iconic car brands on the planet. The company was founded by Enzo Ferrari, with the first vehicle, the 125s produced in 1947. Ferrari has always been heavily involved in the world of Formula One and is the only team to have competed in every season since the introduction of the sport in the mid-1950s.
Founded in 1899, Buick first built car bodies and engines, but in 1903, under the guidance of David Dunbar Buick, a Scotsman, the company turned its attention to making its own cars. By 1904, the company was manufacturing its first model, the Model B. Buick strived for luxury and the Model B was affectionately know as the "couch on wheels." Today, Buick is the oldest American car manufacturer still producing vehicles.
Starting out in 1899, Renault has continued to be at the forefront of car manufacturing in Europe. A Renault vehicle won what is widely regarded as the world's first ever Grand Prix, held at Le Mans in 1906. Renault also introduced the first turbocharged engine in Formula One in 1977.
Pagani sports cars are the brainchild of their Argentinian founder, Horacio Pagani. The company is based near Modena in Italy and builds some of the most incredible sports cars ever imagined, including the Zonda, and their latest offering, the Huayra, a 754 horsepower monster.
Geely is a Chinese car manufacturer that initially started in 1986 in the refrigeration business. Expansion into vehicle manufacturing began in 1995, initially with scooters. A vehicle, the Geely HQ, soon followed in 1998. From 2003, models were exported worldwide. Geely means "lucky" in Mandarin.
Lamborghini is one of the most famous sports car brands in the world. The company was the brainchild of Ferruccio Lamborghini, who had built a successful business empire making tractors. In 1963, he turned his attention to sports cars. In the following years, the brand has produced some iconic models, including the Diablo, Murcielago, Countach and Gallardo. The company now forms part of the Audi group.
The idea behind the Volkswagen, or "people's car," was something close to the heart of Hitler. He approached Ferdinand Porsche to design the car, which he did. It quickly became the Beetle, a vehicle that has seen production throughout the world over decades. Volkswagen, the company, was founded in 1937 and during the Second World War, it produced military vehicles. After the war, it went back into producing commercial vehicles. Over the years, Volkswagen has been responsible for some of the most iconic cars ever, including the Golf, the Bus and a host of others.