The badge on a vehicle is not just an identifiable mark, it can also be a glimpse into an automotive brand’s history, culture and what it stands for. Here we decode the logos of some of the world’s most famous motoring manufacturers…
This Milan-born firm celebrates its roots with a split logo, featuring a red and white municipal cross – the city’s flag – and an emblem of the Visconti serpent. The curled snake is in the macabre act of consuming a person and the symbol was originally the charge of the Visconti family – an Italian noble dynasty – but became associated with Milan when the family gained control of the city in 1277.
The German manufacturer’s four interlocking rings depict the amalgamation of four independent motor-vehicle manufacturers – Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer – who joined forces in 1932 to become the modern-day Audi AG.
The blue and white logo of the German brand is the reversed colours of the Bavarian Free State. The reason for the reversal is because using national symbols in commercial trademarks was illegal when BMW was born.
Enzo Ferrari’s hometown of Modena is reflected in the yellow backdrop of the brand’s design. At the forefront of the logo is the internationally-recognised black prancing horse. The Equus representation was suggested as a symbol of good luck by the mother of WWI pilot Francesco Baracca, who had the horse emblazoned on his jet.
Despite being a Japanese company, the Hyundai logo has often been thought to be the Western initialism of the brand, with the italicised H being quite apparent. However, there are some that say the image depicts a deal being made by two people in a handshake.
Daimler-Benz launched in Stuttgart, Germany in 1926. It is the amalgamation of two firms – Benz & Cie and Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft. The laurel wreath design of the Benz logo is reflected in the ring of the Mercedes’ badge, and the three-point star within the circle reflects Daimler’s three-point plan to conquer air, land, and sea.
Three red diamonds meet centrally in the geometric logo of Japanese brand, Mitsubishi. The design combines the family crest of Yatarō Iwasaki – Mitsubishi’s founder – and the Yamauchi family crest, who were once the leaders of the clan that controlled Yatarō’s hometown.
The German brand’s image combines the quadrant coat of arms of the Free State of Württemberg and the central horse image depicts the brand’s hometown of Stuttgart.