Giants that define German motor luxury

Germany has an enviable reputation for uncompromising quality and high levels of luxury, in no small part contributed by their global ambassadors; the biggest three names in luxury motoring. But what’s the meaning behind the badges?

Mercedes Benz

Arguably the world’s most recognisable car brand, it has a rich innovative history dating as far back as 1886, when the Benz Patent Motorwagen was invented. It’s widely credited as being the first car. An entrepreneur called Emil Jellinek who worked with Karl Benz, named the brand after his daughter, Mercedes Jellinek, thus Mercedes-Benz was trademarked in 1902. The three-pointed star logo was registered in 1909 and signifies the company’s aim to motorise the land, water and air. Their slogan is ‘The best or nothing.’


There exists a deeply competitive yet respectful relationship between Mercedes and BMW. They’re each other’s natural adversaries, but BMW’s etymology is not even half as interesting. The initials mean Bayerische Motoren Werke in German or Bavarian Motor Works in English. The BMW logo simply represents the white and blue colours of the flag of Bavaria and their slogan is ‘Ultimate driving machine.’ Typical Germanic straightforwardness.


The third German auto giant is Audi, whose name is borrowed from the Latin translation of the founder’s surname, August Horch. The name Horch means ‘listen’ or Audi. The headquarter is also in Bavaria and the four ringed logo represents the four companies that came together to form the Auto Union, Audi’s predecessor. Audi’s slogan is Vorsprung durch Technik, meaning ‘Being Ahead through Technology’, but translates into American English as ‘Truth in Engineering.’

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