The Ultimate Guide to Automobile Emblems | Elektroplate
The Ultimate Guide to Automobile Emblems image

The Ultimate Guide to Automobile Emblems


Car emblems are the signature of car manufacturers. They speak to the history of a brand and either add or subtract value to your car.

Some emblems are iconic and stay the same over time. Others change over time.

At one time it was a source of pride to steal a hood ornament from luxury cars like Jaguar or Mercedes. Rolls Royce solved the problem of hood ornament theft for their cars in 2004.

What do car emblems mean? Why are they an important part of a manufacturer's status? Why do car enthusiasts love a favorite emblem?

Keep reading for the ultimate guide to automobile emblems.

Credibility and Identification

For consumers, car emblems are a quick way to recognize a car.

Have you ever seen the latest model of car and wondered what it is? Then you see the emblem on the back or the hood and you immediately know the manufacturer of the car.

Manufacturers know that a new concept car or a model redesign is risky. But with a well-loved and recognizable logo, built-in credibility helps the success of a new model or design.

Perceived Value

Emblems also influence our perceived value of a car.

We know a car in the parking lot with the Maserati logo is an expensive car. That driver has bragging rights.

We also know the Hyundai parked next to it cost less. And that car owner might not brag about it like he would if he drove the Maserati.


A logo makes similar car models more or less desirable. Even a mediocre model with the emblem of a high-end manufacturer gets attention.

Anyone remember the Cadillac Catera? It was "the Caddy that zigs".

Manufactured in the late '90's and hyped as a less-expensive model targeting a younger audience, the idea had potential.

But Cadillac stopped production after only a few years.

The intended appeal? The pride of owning a Cadillac in quality and name but without the stuffy perception of your grandma's big old Caddy.

When the Catera first debuted, it had the potential for success. However, the reality of the poor quality (despite the Cadillac logo) led to the demise of the Catera.

In this case, the Cadillac emblem couldn't save the Catera.


You see the Lexus emblem on a similar car with a Toyota logo, yet you want that Lexus more because of the name and logo.

Toyota, however, is made by Lexus. Many Toyota models are identical to Lexus cars--minus that Lexus emblem increasing the price of the car.

You'll drive a car very similar to the equal Toyota model and brag to your friends about your new Lexus.

And you'll proudly pay a lot more for it than you would for the Toyota.

(Lack of) Quality

On the opposite end of the desirable car spectrum is a manufacturer we lost long ago.

Remember the Yugo?

In the '80s and '90s, the name alone incited laughter. And the logo was simply that name: Yugo.

No one wanted a Yugo. Manufactured in Yugoslavia, these cars were poorly made with a low price tag supporting the cheap craftsmanship.

Yugo went down in history as a terrible car with a tarnished emblem. It is doubtful, though, that a fancy emblem would have saved this car.

History in a Logo

Most car emblems or logos have great meaning for the manufacturer.

From an Asian goddess to images of propellers, to elaborate images and meaning, to simple bold words--automobile emblems are unique and often embody the mission of the manufacturer.

  • Mercedes keeps it simple. The three-point logo tells of the company's goal to make transportation better by air, land, and water.
  • Ford chose their name in that recognizable blue oval. Their emblem is the same as it was since 1912.
  • Mazda's logo has evolved over time. Among other meanings incorporated into the logo, it represents creativity, vitality, and passion.
  • Porsche created a recognizable seal--similar to a coat of arms. The colors and imagery on the logo have deep meaning for the beginnings of this manufacturer.
  • Volvo's logo makes us feel safe. And Volvo cars are known as safe vehicles. The company emblem represents strength, innovation, and security.

Something in the Name

When the carmaker emblem includes a name, that name means something important.

  • Audi: derived from one of the company owners last name. It is Latin for "to hear".
  • Bentley: named for the founder of the company Walter Owen Bentley. He started the company in 1919.
  • Volkswagen: a combination of two German words. "Volks" means "people". "Wagen" is for "cars".
  • Saab: an abbreviation of the original company's full name--Svenska Aeroplan AB.
  • Bugatti: named after the Italian founder Ettore Bugatti.
  • Subaru: the Japanese word for The Pleiades. Still confused? The Pleiades is the cluster of six stars in the constellation known as Taurus. The stars are included in Subaru's logo.


Automobile emblems and logos also inspire loyalty.

Take Jeeps, for example.

The emblem is simply the name "Jeep" in a recognizable typeface. And Jeep owners are fiercely loyal to the brand.

Perhaps more identifiable than the Jeep logo is the image of the grill. The front grill of every Jeep includes seven slots--no more, no less.

The grill itself is a source of pride among Jeep enthusiasts. It became so iconic that Jeep now includes a graphic of a grill in some instances of the company logo.

Automobile Emblems Tell a Story

When an automobile emblem is well-known and well-respected, the logo itself encourages car buyers to drive a manufacturer's cars.

True car enthusiasts take pride in their car brand of choice. Adding customized chrome emblems, license plate frames, and hitch covers for your car makes your beloved car more memorable.

Customized accessories add your personal story to the story your car's emblem tells.

Whether you need something designed for your personal car, your business fleet, or for a fundraiser, contact us to create the right product for you.

We provide a free quote and stand behind the quality of our work with every customized design.

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