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A Backstory of Popular Volkswagen Vehicles & How They Got Their Names 

2023 Volkswagen Taos
2023 Volkswagen Taos

Vehicle names don’t just come from nowhere, they are mostly named based on inspiration by manufacturers. For example, Lamborghini has been known to name its vehicles after bulls made famous in the bullfighting scene. 

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Others have named their vehicles after geographic locations such as the Chevrolet Corsica, the GMC Canyon, or the Kia Telluride. Volkswagen has also found its inspiration from different things around the world or in our history. 

For example, the Beetle is pretty straightforward. The car is shaped like a bug’s shell. But, the automaker also has other inspirations for naming its vehicles.

Auto Evolution did some research on the names of the Volkswagen lineup and the inspiration behind them. Interestingly, a lot of the names are related to winds and Greek mythology. Only one of the names seems to be a made-up word. Even that is a combination of two exciting words versus something out of thin air.

The Volkswagen Golf

The VW Golf is a small hatchback that can go anywhere. The name has nothing to do with the sport. Instead, the Golf is the German form for gulf, as in gulf stream. The Gulf Stream is part of the winds that take people around the world. 

The Volkswagen Passat

2020 Volkswagen Passat
Volkswagen Passat

The Passat name also comes from the German word for trade winds. So, it’s a different play on the same idea as the Golf’s name. Incidentally, another wind-related name belonged to Plymouth, the Breeze.

The Volkswagen Tiguan

Volkswagen Tiguan
Volkswagen Tiguan

Tiguan has a combination of words for the derivation of the name. The first is the tiger. The second word is an iguana. This seems to be the first made-up name in the Volkswagen lineup.

The Volkswagen Jetta

2019 Volkswagen Jetta
2019 Volkswagen Jetta

The Jetta is a sedan that can take families anywhere. In German, the name Jetta translates to the jet stream. The jet stream can connect you with anywhere in the world. 

The Volkswagen Arteon

volkswagen arteon
volkswagen arteon

Artem is the Latin word for art. It is the root word in Arteon. The Arteon is intended to be an artistic expression of beauty. 

The Volkswagen Atlas

2021 volkswagen atlas 05
Volkswagen Atlas

Atlas was a Greek mythological figure. He was a Titan who fought against Zeus. His punishment was to hold up the celestial heavens for eternity. So, Atlas was kind of a big deal. Hence the connection to the VW name on their biggest SUV, meaning the Volkswagen Atlas is also a big deal. That’s the message Volkswagen is passing across.

The Volkswagen Eos

Volkswagen Eos
Volkswagen Eos

The name Eos also harkens back to Greek mythology. Eos was the daughter of Titans. She was in charge of bringing the new dawn. The Eos was a convertible. A convertible permits the sun to shine in, hence the name. 


Volkswagen is not the only brand whose car names are based on inspirations from various things. This is common in the automotive industry, as car manufacturers give names to their cars based on something that inspired their creation.

Written by Amaefule Precious

A content writer with experience across various niches, and one of them includes interest in writing about cars.

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