The history of car logos

Sam Bisby

By: Sam Bisby

Volvo has just updated their ironmark logo for a more grayscale emblem to coincide with the launch of its new vehicle XC90. From inverted Vs to blue ovals, car manufacturer logos embody the heritage, mission statement and beauty of their cars. The automotive emblems are not just pieces of metal to add on your bonnet, but have in fact got fascinating stories behind their creation and evolution.

Ford

Ford car logo history

Founded in 1903, Ford’s logo is now recognised all over the world. The Ford logo has had the same font since 1912 and the blue oval surrounding the automaker’s name has been used for 87 years. The original Ford logo was only used on company communications. The Ford Model A was the first production car to feature a special Ford logo. With a flatter appearance, the 2003 logo was released to mark the motor company’s 100th year anniversary.

Citroën

Citroen logo history

Citroën’s logo has had two inverted Vs since its original logo in 1919. During a visit to Poland, it is believed that André Citroën saw a chevron-shaped gear used in milling resulting in the two chevrons. Although it has also been rumoured that Citroën was simply influenced by his original business of gear-cutting. Citroën created a 3D version to celebrate the 90th anniversary in 2009. 

Fiat

Fiat car logo history

Founded in 1899, Fiat is an acronym for Fabbrica Italiana Automobil Torino. The first Fiat car branded with the logo was the model 4 HP. It is rumoured that a company design chief liked seeing the sky behind the giant Fiat letters on the head office so much that he added the spaces on to the 1968-2000 Fiat logo.

Mazda

Mazda car logo history

Believed to be based on the god of wisdom Ahura Mazda from the Zoroastrianism religion, Mazda is also a close sounding word to the founder’s name Matsuda. The letter M by itself has been incorporated into the emblem, with the first variation in 1936.

Peugeot

Peugeot car logo history

Symbolising the toughness, flexibility and speed of Peugeot steel, Peugeot’s symbol has always been a lion in differing positions. The lion was originally used to market the steel products Peugeot manufactured. The Peugeot lion was officially registered as its trademark in 1858.

Vauxhall

Vauxhall car logo history

The famous Vauxhall griffin is derived from the Falkes de Breauté‘s coat of arms. Falkes de Breauté was a mercenary who was granted the Manor of Luton for services to King John in the 13th Century and also gained land on the south side of the river Thames. The manor Falkes de Breautélived in became known as Vauxhall, which Vauxhall Motors then used as its brand mark.

Volvo

Volvo car logo history

The Volvo’s circle and arrow logo is a close design to the Mars symbol and Roman God of War which became the ancient logo for Iron. Meaning "I roll" in Latin, Volvo chose the emblem as a sign of strength to project to their customers. This strength is still one of Volvo’s most well known features. 

Volvo prancing moose logo

Volvo is also known for its side-shield prancing moose. The prancing moose has been rumoured to have been in recognition of Volvo’s "Moose Avoidance Test" which was used to show the accident-avoiding reflexes of new cars to avoid a dummy moose. Although several others believe the prancing moose may have been a comical nod to Ferrari’s prancing horse, with the moose being the Scandinavian nod to their base.