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World Famous Car Logos

Updated on September 27, 2012

Some cars have been so successful over the years that people recognize them just by their logos. That is also the power of branding.

Ever wondered what the stories were behind the design of those logos? Here are seven such tales of famous car logos seeped in history...


German Engineering- Audi & BMW

Audi – German engineering is a class apart. The beautiful yet simple Audi logo of four overlapping rings placed next to each other signifies the coming together of four companies’ way back in 1932. It meant to signify “vorsprung durch technik” also implying “advancement through technology”. August Horch was the founder of the company back in 1910 and Audi is derived from the Latin word ‘audire’ which means ‘to listen’ and Horch in German also means ‘to hear’!

Bavarian Motor Works or BMW is yet another renowned Germany automobile company that was established in 1917. The restrictions imposed by the Versailles Armistice Treat prevented the company to manufacture aircraft engines which was their initial product. Therefore they moved to making cars and so many people around the world enjoy this manufacturing move greatly till this day! The hard to miss circular logo with its blue and white colours are reflective of the Bavarian flag cololurs as well as symbolic of the view seen between aircraft propellers when it is flying high in the blue sky.

Audi Showroom in HK
Audi Showroom in HK | Source
Ferrari Logo
Ferrari Logo | Source

can't miss the Italian car makers..Ferrari-Lamborghini & Bugatti

Ferrari – The leaping or prancing black horse on a yellow shield is the distinct logo for the Ferrari auto makers. Formed in 1929 the symbol is also called “Cavallino Rampante” or “the prancing horse”. The story goes that there was an ace Italian pilot who used to have the ‘prancing horse’ painted on his aircraft. He fatally crashed during World War I and when Enzo Ferrari won a race at Ravenna, the parents of the dead pilot (who were actually royalty) suggested Enzo Ferrari include the prancing horse as the logo of his winning car, wishing it would bring him luck. So Enzo adopted the horse symbol and placed it on a yellow background.

Lamborghini – Stemming off the Ferrari story, we move to Lamborghini. Why? Simple – the company was founded as a competition to the Ferrari! Not only that, the story goes that Ferruccio Lamborghini owned many expensive cars including the Ferrari and one day discovered that he had a broken mechanical part in the car. Now Lamborghini used to manufacture tractors (yes, tractors!) and he realized the broken part in the Ferrari was similar to the one used in his tractors. He then asked Ferrari for a better part replacement, to which Ferrari retorted that he being a tractor maker has no idea about luxury cars and about what he was asking for. Lamborghini thus decided to go ahead and define luxury car making in his own right! Now bullfighting is a rage in Spain and when Lamborghini visited a famous bull breeder, so impressed he was by the tough and strong animals that he chose the raging bull as the logo for his upcoming automobile venture.

Bugatti - Founded in 1909 by Italian born Ettore Bugatti who hailed from a family of artists and jewellery designers. The logo of the Bugatti symbolizes just this- a combination of elegance and technology. The oval frame is bordered with fine pearls and the initials of the founder are etched at the top. The Bugatti Veyron is claimed to top the charts in terms of price as well as speed, the car is named after a French race car driver – Pierre Veyron and the manufacturer Bugatti.


..and some more German car makers- Mercedes & Porsche

Mercedes Benz – The World War I economics crisis gave us yet another famous automobile manufacturer that is known the world over for elegance, class and luxury. Two companies- Benz and Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft came together to sell for combined gain rather than being rivals. The logo was designed in 1909 and is basically a three pointed star that represents – domination of the land, sea and the air. A person named Emile Jellinek helped sell a lot of these cars and so the logo was named after his eldest daughter Mercedes and came to be known as Merceds Benz.

Porsche – If you embed the ‘coat of arms of Stuttgart’ into the old ‘coat of arms of Wurtternberg’ and remove the two reindeers, you will find yourself looking at the logo of the car known the world over as Porsche. Stuttgart was in fact the capital of Wurtthenberg. The company was founded by Austrian Ferdinand Porsche in 1931 at Stuttgart.


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    • Anjo Bacarisas II profile image

      Anjo Bacarisas II 5 years ago from Cagayan de Oro, Philippines

      i like the logo of mecedez, just a simple one and yet very famous. the concept is very amazing like this hub. thanks much, blessed :)

    • Robert Erich profile image

      Robert Erich 5 years ago from California

      Awesome histories of how car logos came to be. I love the story behind BMW. I have owned a BMW before and it is a beautiful piece of machinery. Glad they stopped making engines for war planes and started building cars!

      Thanks for the info.

    • Riverfish24 profile image

      Riverfish24 5 years ago from United States

      Thanks Emma!

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Kisby 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Interesting subject matter. I've never thought about the meanings behind car logos before. Voting up!