Frequently, the logos of car manufacturers depict generations of the same family, romantic tales, or multiple meanings. Almost all manufacturers have a logo or symbol that symbolizes the values they uphold and the public image they present to the world. It would be entertaining to give you a brief historical tour of the origins of some of the world’s most recognizable and beloved car company logos, as they all have intriguing origin stories.
We know that each automaker has a unique trademark — a logo or emblem — but have you ever considered the history? After extensive market research, designers frequently draw inspiration from heraldry or mythology when creating well-known vehicle logos. Let’s examine the history of ten of the world’s most recognizable automobile brand logos.
Car Logos and the interesting story behind
Mercedes-Benz Car Logo
Mercedes-Benz has been in business since the early 20th century, but the name “Mercedes” was not registered as a trademark until September 1902. Gottlieb Daimler drew the original three-pointed star emblem, which subsequently served as the foundation for the company’s logo, along with the words, “This star would one day shine over our factory to symbolize prosperity.” Mercedes-Benz intended it to represent the company’s aspiration to dominate land, sea, and air.
BMW Car Logo
Contrary to conventional belief, BMW’s “roundel” is not a propeller but rather a symbol of the flag of the Free State of Bavaria. BMW originated from Rapp Motor Works, whose emblem was a roundel with a black horse. Due to legal constraints, BMW has continued to use the same roundel but with the mirrored colors of Bavaria. The association between the BMW roundel and a plane’s propeller dates back to 1929 when the logo appeared in an advertisement superimposed over a propeller. In an interview with The New York Times in 2010, a BMW spokesperson named Mr. Plucinsky refuted any suggestion that aircraft propellers inspired the emblem.
Toyota Car Logo
Additionally, the logo contains a hidden significance. Because Toyota was founded as a manufacturer of industrial looms (Toyota Automatic Loom Works), it is commonly believed that the inner oval is a needle with a passageway for an invisible thread to pass through.
Cadillac Car Logo
The Cadillac name and logo originated as the family crest of the French explorer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, Detroit’s namesake. The emblem’s three colored bands represented virtue, fortitude, and courage. We also removed the wreath, crown, and miniature Merganser ducks from the previous logo.
This famous automobile emblem has a convoluted history. The legendary founder of the Cadillac automobile company asserted that his family’s ties to old French aristocracy established that the brand’s coat of arms was designed long before Christopher Columbus’s groundbreaking discovery of the Americas. It is widely believed, however, that Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac designed the crest for his wedding in 1687.
Maserati Car Logo
Although three brothers managed the Italian company, Mario, the fourth Maserati sibling, designed the iconic horse and carriage logo. He drew inspiration from the trident held by the Roman deity Neptune in Piazza Maggiore in Bologna and added the city’s red and blue colors.
Audi Car Logo
The four rings of the Audi emblem signify the union of the Audi, Horch, DKW, and Wanderer automobile brands. August Horch, a pioneer of automotive innovation, founded both Horch and Audi’s ancestors, which was known only by its initials at the time.
Before beginning the production of cars in 1913, Wanderer dabbled in the automotive industry by producing bicycles and motorcycles. DKW, the fourth company, began as a bicycle manufacturer but expanded into the automobile industry in the 1920s.
Rolls-Royce Car Logo
Despite having attained global prominence, Rolls-Royce is one of the few companies with a reputation for quality and luxury. The official logo is moderately serifed with two superimposed initials, but the “Spirit of Ecstasy” mascot is far more well-known.
It is believed that actress Eleanor Thornton inspired the headdress decoration. Supposedly, Lord John Montagu commissioned sculptor Charles Sykes to create a logo for his Rolls-Royce and suggested using Thornton (with whom Montagu may have had an affair) as the model. After that, Sykes was pressured to design a mascot for all Rolls-Royce vehicles.
Ferrari Car Logo
Ferrari’s prancing horse is undeniably one of the world’s most recognizable automobile company logos. The emblem is said to have been inspired by the fuselage of the aircraft stolen by Enzo Ferrari from Count Francesco Baracca, an ace pilot and war hero in the Italian Air Force. The aviator’s mother, Countess Paolina, assured Enzo that using her son’s horse emblem on his automobiles would bring him good fortune. As a sign of reverence for the deceased pilot, he gave the background a canary-yellow hue (Modena’s color) and kept the horse black instead of red.
Peugeot Car Logo
The Peugeot logo is among the most enduring and well-known in the automobile industry. The official establishment of the French lion occurred in 1847, long before Peugeot began manufacturing automobiles. Jules and Emile Peugeot commissioned the design, which is based on the symbol of the France-Comte region, for use on all of their products. Before appearing on Peugeot automobiles, the logo went through several variations. Between 1998 and 2002, car logo connotations such as strength and equilibrium and the company’s outlook on the future were modified.
Lamborghini Car Logo
It is said that the company’s founder, Ferruccio Lamborghini, had the notion while visiting the Miura Ranch, where bulls for bullfights were raised. The company’s namesake and birthday child, Ferruccio Lamborghini, was a bullfighting enthusiast.
These iconic logos are more than visual elements – they are a reflection of the brand’s journey, values and aspirations. The stories behind these logos remind us that every design has a story, a history that is intertwined with human creativity and progress. From Mercedes-Benz’s three-pointed star to Ferrari’s prancing horse, these logos have become more than just marks on vehicles; they are symbols that connect us to a rich tapestry of ingenuity and passion. When you see these logos on the roads, remember the stories they carry and the message they represent.