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Naming And Faming: Volkswagen’s Name Game

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

While other German marques rely heavily on numbers - BMW and Audi specifically - Volkswagen has steadfastly persevered with the alpha element of alpha numericals when asking its marketing department to name its primary vehicles.

That being said, its commercial division has quite happily gone with the numerical alternatives, when casting a glance at Transporters. Namely, the T1, T2, T3, T4, T5, etc, etc.

To literally paraphrase Rihanna, ‘What’s my name again?’

Or to be more exacting in this our latest blog; ‘What’s the meaning behind Volkswagen’s most iconic vehicle model names?’

Admittedly, a bit tenuous in terms of links, and a lot more wordy if we opted for the latter question/blog title.

But we’ve started now, so we’ll continue.

It’s always fascinating to learn the back stories which lie behind some of the most instantly recognisable brand names. And discover just what inspired the monikers which are immediately familiar to car owners and buyers today.

And for the past few generations.

VW Names Are Based On A Lot Of Hot Air

Warm air, certainly. As jet streams have played a pivotal part in the naming of Veedub’s most iconic vehicles for a number of decades now.

Take the Golf for example.

The redoubtable family hatchback which singlehandedly spawned the hot hatch genre derived its name from the Gulf Stream. While ‘Jetta’ is actually the German word for ‘jet stream’. Jetta, of course, being a Golf with a boot rather than hatch. And which is a model firmly rooted in Volkswagen’s illustrious past.

Unless you’re American.

Where we’re led to believe that Jetta is ‘still a thing’.

A little less loosely translated is ‘trade wind’. Or Passat. Between you, us and the proverbial gatepost. Passatwinde being the literal interpretation.

And then there’s Scirocco. Which if you’re familiar with typical Saharan weather conditions you’ll be nodding your head in acknowledgement of the connection between the Mediterranean wind and the classic two-door coupe. VW even went a step further, by christening its most sought-after Scirocco model, the Storm.

The Bora is another wind which blows plenty of good for Volkswagen. Which in real terms refers to the gusts which tend to penetrate the Adriatic Sea.

Also, did you know that Polo references polar winds? Well, we all do now.

And there was you thinking that Golf and Polo referred to sporting namesakes.....

Run Rabbit, Run Rabbit, Run Rabbit, Run....

For all of Volkswagen’s unswerving appreciation for climmatical indifferences, its borderline obsession with winds didn’t last forever.

But then it never really kicked in stateside.

As for the US market, the Golf was rebranded as a - and wait for it - a Rabbit. That’s right. A Volkswagen Rabbit.

It didn’t stop with the Rabbit either. As the VW Fox soon followed.

Back to the European demographic though, and Volkswagen took up a similar animal-naming baton, and adapted it to its Tiguan, Amarok and Lupo. Tiguan being a portmanteau of the German words for tiger and iguana, whilst both the Amarok and Lupo are derived from the respective Inuit and Latin names for a wolf.

When Wolfsburg weren’t drawing on winds to name its mass-produced vehicles after, it turned to that failsafe of Greek mythology. Read Eos, Phaeton and Atlas. Latin provides another default model naming sheet for automotive manufacturers, historically. And VW didn’t buck that trend.

If in doubt, think Arteon. Which is a variation on the Latin word, artem. Which means art.

It's A Tribal Thing

In more recent times VW has borrowed from Saharan culture once again. On this occasion taking the name, ‘Tuareg’ and adding an additional ‘O’, so as to create the like-sounding, ‘Touareg’. The former directly referencing the indiginous and nomadic people who reside in the northern Sahara desert, the latter being a voluminous SUV that can easily transport more urban tribes.

When Volkswagen isn't looking to Greek Gods, its old school Latin books, winds and wolves, it’s channeling things which conjure up images of haste. The VW Corrado being a point in question/the Spanish verb to run or to sprint (‘correr’).

Speaking of Tribes….

WCC Neston has long served the, er, servicing needs of Volkswagen owners throughout the Wirral, across Cheshire and even further afield. Into Merseyside and North Wales.

Our customer reach knows no bounds, as we routinely go about our business of looking after our customer’s wind-derived VW models, throughout their life journeys’. And extending them beyond expectations, thanks to the expertise and diligence of our core team of manufacturer-trained technicians.

Get in touch today to find out more….

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