The first automobile was made more than 130 years ago in 1885. While some brands have come and gone, others have stood the test of time. We look into how some of the most famous car brands came up with their name.
August Horch was the founder of Audi, but before this he used his surname for his first car company. Not able to use the same name for the next company, a friend’s son suggested he used the name Audi. Horch (German) and Audi (Latin) actually mean the same thing, the English equivalent is ‘Listen!’
In 1902 the Henry Ford Company was going out of business. It was saved and renamed after French explorer Sieur de Cadillac who founded the city of Detroit where car company is still based today.
SEAT was first created to build Fiats under licence in Spain. The company did so well it was praised for its part in the Spanish economy and an acronym was given as its name. It stands for Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo or Spanish Touring Car Company.
So, where did the Fiat name come from did we hear you ask? Well, it’s another acronym just like SEAT. This one is pretty simple. When the company was created in 1899 the cars were manufactured in a factory in Turin named Italian Automobiles Factory of Turin. The Italian translation is Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino, shortened to FIAT.
Alfa Romeo became part of Fiat in 1986 but before that, it was founded in Milan, the capital of the Lombardy region of Italy. Originally an acronym for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili (or Lombard Automobile Factory Company), Romeo was added five years later in reference to an early boss named Nicola Romeo.
Stay with us on this one…Volvo is the Latin word for ‘I roll’. The car manufacturer started out as a subsidiary of SKF, a Swedish bearing manufacturer. In its most simple definition, a bearing allows machinery to move…and roll.
Only one of the two founders were lucky enough to have their name become part of the company name. However, both Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford competed in the Aston Hill Hillclimb course in Buckinghamshire, where they found inspiration for the first part of their manufacturing business.
Watch company Swatch was working on a small-car project for years before finally finding a collaborator in Daimler-Benz. smart stands for Swatch Mercedes-Art, so the watch brand is still represented in the name, however, Daimler took over the whole project quickly after becoming involved.