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Metal Beasts: Cars That Are Named After Animals

beetleWhen the marketing team for a new vehicle put their heads together, they put a lot of thought into the name. At least that’s the theory. With some marques, they stick with a system of numbers and letters that let you know some of the details about the car, such as the engine size (this is the preferred method of Mercedes-Benz and BMW).  Other manufacturers pick an actual name: a word that will stick in the memory of potential customers and possibly capture what the spirit of the vehicle is.  Often, the design team look to the animal world for images of beauty, speed and possible danger; alternatively, they give them cute, cuddly names that are likely to appeal to the more family-friendly segment of the market.

Here’s a selection of vehicles that have already been named after animals:

Cute, cuddly and pretty animals:

  • Beetle (VW) 
  • Bluebird (Nissan)
  • Rabbit (VW – in the US; it’s called a Golf )
  • Kitten (Reliant)
  • Escargot (French for “snail” (escargot) with a pun on “cargo” – Nissan)
  • Robin (Reliant)

    And on top of the other weirdness, the bonnet opens backwards.

    Reliant Robin

  • Panda (Fiat) 
  • Swift (Suzuki)

Fast animals:

  • Mustang (Ford) 
  • Impala (Chevrolet)
  • Colt (Mitsubishi) 
  • Starion (a Japanese mishearing of “Stallion” – Mitsubishi)
  • Pinto (technical term for a black and white or brown and white horse; Ford – probably about the worst vehicle they every made)
  • Marlin (AMC)
  • Stag (Triumph – although this could go in the “dangerous animals” category)
  • Falcon (Ford) 

Dangerous animals:

Ford Pinto

Ford Pinto

  • Ram (Dodge ) – some sheep aren’t just fluffy things that go baa
  • Bighorn (Isuzu )
  • Jaguar  (probably about the most successful animal name out there)
  • Spider (Alfa Romeo)
  • Viper (Dodge)
  • Cobra (Shelby)
  • Cougar (Ford, formerly Mercury)
  • Barracuda (Plymouth)
  • Stingray (Corvette)


    Corvette Stingray

  • Amarok (Inuit for “wolf” – VW)
  • Blackhawk (Jeep Cherokee – although they might have had the military helicopter in mind… which is named after the bird).
  • Thunderbird (Ford)
  • Gripen (Swedish for “griffin” or “gryphon”, a mythological cross between a lion and an eagle; Saab)
  • Golden Hawk (Studebaker)
  • Tiburon  (Spanish for “shark” – Hyundai)
  • Cayman  (variation of “caiman”, which is a small crocodile or the Spanish for crocodile/alligator –Porsche)
  • Puma (Ford)
  • Yeti (Skoda) 
  • Taurus (Latin for “bull” – Ford)

OK, so that’s cars that actually exist that are named after animals.  What are some other possibilities that could work for the cars of the future?  And what animal names definitely won’t work?

Cute and cuddly:

  • Labrador
  • Alpaca
  • Swan
  • Ladybird
  • Corgi
  • Koala
  • Dolphin
  • Racoon


  • Kestrel
  • Oryx
  • Appaloosa
  • Palomino
  • Peregrine
  • Greyhound
  • Elk (this would really suit a 4×4)
  • Saluki
  • Pegasus
  • Tiercel
  • Camel


  • Dragon (although SsangYong means “twin dragons”, so this might be already in use)
  • Alligator
  • Pitbull
  • Jararaca
  • Bear
  • Boomslang
  • Lynx – hang on, that’s men’s deodorant.
  • Orca
  • Taipan
  • Basilisk
  • Anaconda
  • Mamba
  • Komodo (as in Komodo Dragon)
  • Raptor
  • Osprey
  • Aquila
  • Mosquito (yes it’s a dangerous animal (spreads malaria) and it works for fighter planes, so why  not for cars?)

Ummm – perhaps not!

  • Hippo
  • Baboon
  • Slug
  • Dog
  • Emu
  • Cow
  • Gorilla (although this might work for a big commercial pickup – you never know)
  • Goldfish
  • Pig
  • Duck
  • Echidna
  • Whale
  • Turtle
  • Seagull
  • Bitch
  • Monkey
  • Octopus
  • Giraffe
  • Hyena
  • Platypus
  • Troll
  • Boa
  • Jellyfish

Any other suggestions for animal names that will work – or that definitely won’t? Let us know in the comments!

One comment

  1. ron heferen says:

    ford mustang v8 gt , nothing like it great reasale value ,good looks plenty of power ,for the price hard to beat. ron

    August 27th, 2016 at 7:16 pm