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How did European car companies get their names?

Mercedes-Benz got its name from founder Carl Benz. The word “Mercedes” comes from the 10-year-old daughter of a car buyer Emil Jellinek. He was an early customer of the Gottlieb Daimler and ordered a custom-built car that he named after his daughter, Mercedes.

Audi is the Latin translation of the German name "Horch." The founder, August Horch, left the company after five years, but still wanted to manufacture cars. Since the original "Horch" company was still there, he called his new company Audi, the Latin form of his last name. In English it is: "Hark!"

BMW is short for Bayerische Motoren Werke (Bavarian Motor Factories).

Ferrari is the last name of its founder, Enzo Ferrari.

Fiat is essentially an acronym of Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino (Italian Factory of Cars of Turin).

Porsche gives us a new twist. It is so named after Ferry Porsche, son of the founder Ferdinand Porsche, an Austrian automotive engineer.

Volkswagen is German for “people’s car.”

Volvo comes from the Latin word "volvo," which means "I roll." It was originally a name for a ball bearing being developed by SKF.

Dave Menard of Avanti NewsFeatures contributed to this report. You can reach's Hawke Fracassa at [email protected].


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