What Automotive Brand logos actually mean: How many did you know correctly?

Some hearsay and some lost in translation, many a time we land up having strange ideas about what brand logos really stand for that couldn’t be further from the truth.

By: | Updated: June 14, 2018 6:21 PM

For any automotive manufacturer, a logo is their way of expressing what the brand stands for. However, there are so many brands we see every day with origins in strange countries and some of them even date to more than a hundred years ago. Some hearsay and some lost in translation, many a time we land up having strange ideas about what brand logos really stand for that couldn’t be further from the truth. This listicle of some of the biggest and oldest names in the automotive industry and why their logo looks the way it does will go a long way in helping you understand the real idea behind these logos. Once you're done, you’ll know what the BMW symbol really means and how it hasn’t got anything to do with propellers of an aircraft.

Audi: A little-known fact about this German luxury brand is that it started out under the name Auto Union representing the union of four companies, Audi, Horch, DKW, and Wanderer. These four companies merged together to form Auto Union in 1932 with the name Auto Union. The four rings on the grill stand for the union of these four companies and till date proudly adorns the gorgeous machines rolling out as Audis.

Ferrari: Enzo Ferrari was known to be a man of few words, and in tune with that sentiment, there is only one recorded statement by him in which he describes what the Ferrari logo meant and why that was the one he chose. What better way to describe it than in the words of Enzo himself, "The horse was painted on the fuselage of the fighter plane of Francesco Baracca - a heroic airman of the First World War. In ’23, I met count Enrico Baracca, the hero’s father, and then his mother, Countess Paulina, who said to me one day, ‘Ferrari, put my son’s prancing horse on your cars. It will bring you good luck’. The horse was and still is, black, and I added the canary yellow background which is the colour of Modena."

BMW: Contrasting to claims that the symbol represents a propeller in motion, the real symbolism behind BMW ’s colour in circular quadrants are to represent the Bavarian Free State colours. The only thing is that they have been placed in reverse order as it was then illegal to use national symbols as a trademark. The rumour started with a BMW advertisement that shows the symbol using a propeller as shown below.


Hyundai: The internet, through very serious sounding satire, will have you believe that the Hyundai symbol is what you get when you select over the Honda symbol and italicize. However, the reasons for the company symbol is seriously a lot deeper. The two pillars in the symbol that come together to form the 'H' each represent the customer and the company. The two horizontal line represents the symbiotic relationship between the two.

Alfa Romeo 6C

Alfa Romeo: Easily one of the strangest logos ever to be put on an automobile. It's eccentric, characteristically Italian and has deeply confusing symbolism. Let's start with the Red Cross on the left, which, represents the city of Milan. The right part of the symbol is where things get interesting. You’ll notice what appears to be a monstrous snake eating a human being. But it’s possibly the opposite of that, an important guy in Milan called Otone Visconti fought against a Saracen knight and killed him. He then took the symbols on the Saracen’s shield back to Milan, which is why it made its way onto the Alfa badge. Also, the snake isn’t eating the man, the image tries to bring focus on the man emerging from the mouth of the beast, purified, and a new man!

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