10 weird and gorgeous car logos explained
A car logo is an underrated but very important part of the vehicle. Get a good one and it grabs attention and becomes an iconic part of the business. If you are wrong, it is considered a joke and the business suffers. Most companies go for something simple like the company name in a stylized font. A few might opt for some animal intended to imitate the car’s name like Cobra or Hellcat. It’s much better when a car’s logo is self-explanatory and most go for something obvious.
Some logos are interesting because of their origins and the fact that they are not as obvious as they appear. What just looks like the company’s initials has some pretty unique meanings. Other cars can be fun by mixing a cool logo with a unique background to stand out from the crowd. These are ten sometimes weird but also gorgeous car logos and what they mean to show the imagination that goes into making them.
A subsidiary of Geeley, Englon attracted attention with this logo used for the London Taxi Company. The left side consists of six stars that list the number of locations where Englon has manufacturing plants (Lanzhou, Xiangtan, Jinan, Linhai, and Ningbo) and the company’s head office in Zhejiang.
The right side is a fiery red with the image of an armored goddess with a spear and shield, which shows the British engineering used by the company. This fascinating contrast of East and West emulates Englon’s influence on both sides of the world.
Going cosmic works for a few automakers, and Saturn is unique. At first glance, the logo is meant to mimic the planet, although it’s odd that they chose a red color, which better matches Mars. But there is an additional meaning because the astrological symbol of Saturn includes an arched crescent.
It looks like a sickle that traditionally represents the harvest of an old regime and the installation of a new one. This corresponds to a company always in search of the future and innovation, so the Saturn logo works on several levels.
It throws people off when they first see it, arguably wondering why Saab would choose a rooster with a crown on its head as its logo. It’s actually supposed to be a griffin, the mythological winged monster with an eagle’s head and the body of a lion. It also comes from the coat of arms of the company’s founder, Count von Skane.
It is also believed to show the company’s short-lived merger with Scania. Despite its original look, it suits the company and the red bird with a crown is one of the most famous logos in the world.
A modern overhaul is rarely a big improvement over the original, but Hongqi does qualify. For decades, the Chinese automaker has used a simple sunflower design that was okay but rather drab. In 2018 they did it again, now much more stylized with a likeness of both a flower and a red flag (which translates to hongqi).
What makes it great is the split design which also serves as a mark on the cars themselves. By adapting the logo and car design so well, Hongqi is boldly branding the automotive industry.
While Alfa Romeo is known for its large luxury sports cars, the logo can be confusing. A red cross on one side and a snake on the other seems an odd choice for this business. As he recounted, designer Romano Cattaneo was waiting for a train in Piazza Castello in central Milan and admiring the coat of arms of the station.
The Biscione or “grass snake” has been a symbol of Milan for centuries while the cross is the flag of Milan. Cattaneo also said that the serpent does not eat the man but rather the crawling man as if he were renewed. While the 2015 logo made the flag more visible for the snake to surround it, this original logo helped Alfa Romeo stand out from the pack.
It’s easy to think of Subaru’s slogan as just a “cosmic” look. That the company wants to make its cars appear from another world to customers. The truth is a little different. The name is for a collection of stars also known as the Pleiades. In Greek mythology, the stars were the daughters of the demigod Atlas. In fact, two stars are so close that they only appear one.
The larger star in the logo represents the parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries, while the five smaller stars represent the five companies that have merged to form it. The blue color corresponds to the galaxy itself. Thus, Sburabu plays in mythology for its unique logo.
Rising from the ashes of Fisker, Karma manufactures beautiful luxury cars from its California base. To stand out from Fisker, the company opted for a more artistic logo. Since Karma means “that which flows, returns”, society naturally uses a circle.
The orange and red outline is meant to symbolize the passion and determination of the company. Deep blue is like the world itself and how Karma wants to innovate it. It is like looking to the future that the company pushes and clicks with its customers.
It’s always fun when a logo can be taken in different ways. At first glance, the Hyundai logo appears to be a stylized “H” for the company name. The reality is that it is the silhouette of a handshake between the company and the customer.
The surrounding oval is meant to showcase Hyundai’s global influence. The company makes every effort because each brand model has its own stylized logo to distinguish them from the others. So while the logo may seem obvious, the hidden meaning shows Hyundai’s commitment to pleasing its customers.
Many car manufacturers like to use a “coat of arms” for their logos. Cadillac is a little different. Their shield is a mixture of colors, mostly gold, black, and yellow with a few others. The origins are confused as it is believed to be the crest of the company’s namesake, 17th century explorer Antoine de la Mothe Sieur de Cadillac, although the man was not really a “blue blood”.
The company claims that the colors are meant to show excellence: gold symbolizes wealth and wisdom; red signifying daring and prowess in action; money for purity, virtue, abundance and charity; and blue to represent chivalrous value. It was all put on the pound sterling to show its value. So, while the origins are mixed, the emblem itself retains a regal feeling.
Few logos are as familiar as Chevrolet. There are also fewer logos whose origins and meaning have as much history. The popular story is that co-founder William Durant was in a French hotel room and wowed by the bow tie-like patterns on the wallpaper. Another (from Durant’s daughter) is that he sketched it out on a napkin at a family dinner. Durant’s widow claimed he was inspired by the logo of a local coal company on a trip to Virginia.
Then there’s how it pays homage to the Swiss origin of the company’s co-founder, Louis Chevrolet. Whatever the truth, this bow tie emblem is one of the most famous in the industry and still attracts customers today.
Sources: carlogos.org, car-logos.net, Jalopnik, coachbrands.com
Next: These are our favorite car symbols
The Mysterious Utility Wizard and the Pleasure Wagon are just a few of the ridiculous (and legitimate) names that automakers have given their models.
About the Author