Hidden Meaning Behind These 10 Carmaker’s Logos

Automaker Logos Boast Some Incredibly Interesting Histories!

Updated November 9, 2018

It’s often the first thing one notices on a car, but did you ever wonder about the meaning behind that frontal fascia badge? Many carmakers have evolved over the decades, and so have their respective logos. However, there’s usually something in that logo that’s always conveyed the same meaning and hasn’t changed in general. Whether it’s the special shape, symbol or a color, it tells the story about respective automaker’s roots. Here are 10 such stories about some of the world’s most renowned carmakers and their logos.


Six stars that have always graced the Subaru logos represent Pleiades, a cluster of stars in the constellation of Taurus. They’re known as Atlas’ daughters in Greek mythology. Pleiades is one of the closest star clusters to Earth and it’s easily visible to the naked eye. Moreover, term Subaru holds dual meaning. It’s used in Japanese for both the Pleiades cluster and the word unite. Thus it represents one of the best name/logo combos since it also depicts six companies that have united in order to form the Fuji Heavy Industries – Subaru’s parent company.

Subaru Emblem Meaning - Automake Logos


Another Japanese brand and another name/logo combo with sensible meaning behind it. Mitsu means “three” in Japanese, while Hishi (pronounced bishi) means “water chestnut,” a plant whose shape resembles a rhombus (diamond) and whose name the Japanese have always used in order to denote that shape. It’s easy to figure out why their “three rhombuses” logo features the shape it does. Furthermore, the logo represents ancient crests of the Yamauchi and Iwasaki families. Yamauchi’s were the lords of Tosa – a region where Mitsubishi’s founder Yataro Iwasaki was born.

Mitsubishi Emblem Meaning - Automaker Logos


There’s been a lifelong confusion about the German automaker logo’s meaning. For years, people thought it represents a spinning aeroplane propellor against a blue sky. That explanation made some sense due to BMW‘s history of constructing airplane engines early in the twentieth century. A 1929 magazine advertisement which bolstered that myth didn’t help at all in conveying the true meaning behind the BMW’s logo. The truth, however, is much less exciting. The Bavarian maker’s logo is actually derived from the checkered blue and white Bavarian flag.

BMW Emblem Meaning - Automaker Logos


You’ve probably heard about the Volvo ironmark, but that term actually holds a greater meaning. Circular symbol with arrow that points outward is actually the Roman symbol for the god of war Mars. Moreover, it’s the ancient chemical symbol used for iron. Swedish company adopted the ironmark shortly after theiur founding and it’s been on their logos ever since. Volvos aren’t actually made out of iron, but they are known for being some of the sturdiest vehicles in the world anyway.

Automaker Logos - Volvo Symbol Meaning


The four circles constructing the Audi logo are depicting four companies that merged together and formed the brand back in 1932. Signifying Audi, Horch, DKW, and Wanderer the four circles represent each company, resulting in this famous symbol. It’s one of the simplest and cleanest carmaker’s logos. The early Audi logo even depicted all four company’s logos within their own rings. Since then, the logos have slowly disappeared but the rings have remained.

Audi car logo meaning - Automaker Logos


You might think it selfish and egocentric, but Ferrucio Lamborghini had every right to do so being automaker’s founder and all. For one thing, his zodiac sign was the Taurus, but that wasn’t all. During the founding of the company, he’s found himself on the Miura ranch notable for breeding fighting bulls at the time. Prominent bullfighting fan himself, Ferrucio decided to incorporate one of them into his company’s logo. We have to say, it really suits Lamborghini given their history of making powerful machines.

what does the lamborghini logo mean - Automaker Logos


Just like Ferrucio Lamborghini, Enzo Ferrari too gave his company a personal touch. He was greatly influenced by the parents of Italian World War I hero Francesco Baracca whose plane was adorned by similar horse. He met Barraca’s parents count Enrico Baracca and countess Paulina in 1923 when Baracca’s mother asked Enzo to paint her son’s emblem on his race car for good luck. Black prouncing horse (cavallino rampante) has been there ever since and it’s been surrounded by city of Modena’s yellow field background.

Ferrari Symbol Meaning - Automaker Logos


Toyota‘s logo has been largely simple until 1989 when Japanese company adopted the current logo. This one, however is as cryptic as they come and more than makes up for 50 or so years of simplicity. For one, the trio of ovals depicts all four letters making the Japanese maker’s name. See the picture number two below for explanation. Then, they represent the mutually beneficial relationship between the automaker and its customers. Finally, the inner elipse actually represents a needle and space through which the invisible thread might pass. That meaning might owe something to Toyoda Automatic Loom Works – Toyota’s predecessor company which used to be an industrial loom maker back in the day.

what does the toyota symbol represent - automaker logos

what does the toyota symbol represent - automaker symbols


Buick‘s logo is deeply in connection with carmaker founder’s ancestry. It once depicted David Dunbar Buick’s coat of arms which consisted of a red shield, and a checkered silver and azure diagonal line with a stag above, and a punctured cross below. When Buick introduced the original Trishield in 1959, coat of arms’ symbols were transferred to it. Current logo is much more simplified and colorless, but still resembles the original Trishield with all the elements of David Dunbar Buick’s coat of arms.

Automaker Symbols - Buick


Mercedes-Benz‘s famous three-pointed star represents their hopes of establishing motoring and corporate dominance on the land, the sea, and in the air. It first appeared in 1909, long before the automaker took the current name. I don’t know about you, but in my opinion, the Germans kind off really liked that domination part – if history is any indicator.

Automaker Symbols - Mercedes Benz


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nikola Potrebić
About Nikola Potrebić

Despite driving a piece of junk, Nikola still manages to survive the harrowing experience called "A road trip in a Yugo," day in, day out. On the other hand, precious few things move him as muscle cars do. Especially those from the bygone golden era, which makes him wonder why wasn't he born a few decades earlier? Well, at least he's been given the opportunity to enjoy the likes of the Pontiak Aztek, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Fiat Multipla, and other lovely millennials, right? Come to think of it, I'll stick with my Yugo. Thank you very much.

Replacing Air Filter

Keep Your Vehicle Running with This Car Tune Up Checklist

2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Work Truck - left side view

10 Most Affordable Single Cab Trucks

Ferrari 812 Superfast front 3/4 view

What's Hot and What's Not in the 2020 Ferrari Lineup

before and after car seats

Best Car Seat Shampoo 2018

2016 Chevrolet Camaro - right front view

10 Best 4 Seat Convertibles

2017 Fiat 500 - left front view

15 Cute Cars for Teen Drivers

1974 Blue Rodger Dodger - Hot Wheel

10 Most Expensive Hot Wheels

Toyota Corolla AE86 - right side view

10 Best Drift Cars of All Time

1955 Porsche 550 RS - Seinfeld collection

10 Stunning Facts about the Jerry Seinfeld Car Collection

2017 GMC Sierra - left front view

10 Most Affordable Crew Cab Trucks

At Autowise, we envision ourselves as not just a automobile blog or an automobile news website, instead we see our website as a platform to connect all automobile enthusiast and provide them with all the information they need.

Office Address: AutoWise, 809 N 30th St. Rogers, AR 75756

© Copyright 2010 - 2018 AutoWise. All rights reserved.