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What’s in a (Car) Name?

Automobile brand names have some funky histories, and many borrow from other languages. Check out the roots of these company titles and drop some linguistic trivia on your next road trip.

Volvo

This luxury brand opted for a Latin name, one that perfectly describes a car’s purpose. Rooted in the verb volvere, Volvo translates to “I roll.” Makes sense!

Subaru

Ever wonder why Subaru’s logo is a group of stars? The etymology of its name illuminates this starry symbol. Subaru refers to the Japanese name for the constellation known as Pleiades, or the Seven Sisters.

Audi

Another Latin word for a luxury car brand. Audi translates to “listen.” Legend has it that the name pays homage to the firm’s founder, August Horch. The surname Horch, in German, means “listen.”

Volkswagen

This name sounds close to what it means. Looking for an affordable car for its citizens, Germany founded Volkswagen, which means the “people’s car” in German.

Fiat

Some think this Italian company’s name is Latin for “let it be done.” While that’s an accurate translation, FIAT is actually an acronym for Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino (Italian Automobile Factory, Turin).

Hyundai

The Hyundai Motor Company was founded in South Korea in 1967. For the brand name, founders chose a Korean word that loosely translates to “modernity.”

Infiniti

We know this one, although the last letter has been changed from the English version. Yet another luxury vehicle chose a Latin name, choosing the noun that means boundless or unlimited.

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