Name Game

Answered: Where do Volkswagens get their names?

Volkswagen have unique names. Where do they come from? Scroll down to see.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen vehicles are blessed with some of the most interesting model names out there. At one time or another, you’ve probably heard something about them being named after a tribe in Africa or a Greek myth. As told by the automaker themselves, here are the origins of their vehicle names.


2021 Volkswagen Arteon

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG​

Volkswagen: “The Arteon takes its name from the Latin word for art (artem) and alludes to the emphasis VW placed on its design. The four-door coupe includes features such as chrome strips on its frameless side windows and a wraparound grille."


Volkswagen Atlas Basecamp Styling PackagePhoto courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen: “Technically the third VW named after a Greek titan; in ancient myth, Atlas held up the sky – which is appropriate for Volkswagen's first seven-passenger SUV."

Atlas Cross Sport

2020 Volkswagen Cross SportPhoto courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen: “The Atlas Cross Sport is a two-row, midsize crossover based on the Atlas that's sportier (hence 'Cross Sport')."


1979 Volkswagen Super BeetlePhoto courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen: “Not long after it first appeared on German roads, the Volkswagen Type 1 was dubbed the Käfer – or Beetle. That name survived the translation into English and dozens of other languages and became the model's official moniker by the late 1940s. (Other nicknames: 'the bubble' in Denmark, 'coccinelle,' or ladybug, in France, and 'turtle car' in Thailand.)"


2017 Volkswagen CC

​Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

​Volkswagen: “Originally known as the Passat CC, which has been taken to mean "comfort coupe." Although coupes are generally two-door cars, among modern designers the word "coupe" can also describe cars with the sloping roofline of a coupe, regardless of how many doors they have.”


Volkswagen Corrado

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG​

Volkswagen: “Derived from the Spanish verb "correr," meaning to run or to sprint. (Prototypes had a different, wind-related name that was nixed during development.)”


Volkswagen: “Eos is the Greek goddess of the dawn, an obvious reference for a hardtop convertible.”


Volkswagen: “Following the debut of the GTI as a sport version of the Golf, Volkswagen chose "GLI" to indicate the sport version of the four-door Jetta sedan.”


2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI

​Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen: “Several VW models take their names from winds, a pattern that's more of a historical accident than a planned strategy, and you many think that trend continued with Golf. But "Golf" isn't a type of wind – it's the German word for the Gulf Stream ocean current. It also happened to be the name of a key manager's horse, which appears to be the real inspiration."


1984 Volkswagen Rabbit GTI and 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTIPhoto courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen: “Originally inspired by the Italian designation for high-performance luxury cars with fuel injected engines: ‘gran turismo iniezione.’”


1982 Volkswagen Jetta Mk1Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen: “A proper example of the wind motif on Volkswagen models, the word Jetta comes from the German name for jet stream."


1977 Volkswagen Dasher and 2020 Volkswagen Passat

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

​Volkswagen: “Launched in 1973, the Passat was the first modern-era Volkswagen, and took its name from the German word "passatwinde," or trade winds.”


Volkswagen: “Another in the Greek mythology series, Phaeton was a god who almost lost control of the chariot that pulled the sun across the sky. In the 19th century, a phaeton was a specific type of carriage, one with large wheels and an open body designed for speed. In the early days of the auto industry, the name was sometimes applied to open-topped, powerful vehicles – and while the Phaeton has never been built as a convertible, the powerful sense of the name made it a natural for a luxury sedan and wagon.​“


First-generation Volkswagen Scirocco

​Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen: “The VW sports coupe took its name from the ‘sirocco,’ a hot, powerful wind from the Sahara that blows northeast across the Mediterranean Sea.”


Volkswagen: “The Volkswagen Taos SUV designed specifically for North America, shares the same name as the New Mexico town. Home to 6,000 people, Taos has been known for centuries for its breathtaking views, its traditional culture and the artists who have set up colonies there since the turn of the 20th century.“


2022 Volkswagen Tiguan

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG​

Volkswagen: “Ahead of its launch in 2009, Volkswagen teamed with a German automotive magazine to poll readers about what the new compact SUV should be named. The choices included Namib, Rockton, Samun, Nanuk and Tiguan – a portmanteau of the German words for tiger and iguana. It's also the latest in a series of animal-inspired names, along with Rabbit and Fox."


Volkswagen TouaregPhoto courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen: “One of the most challenging names to appear on a Volkswagen was inspired by the Tuareg people, known mostly as a tribe of Berber nomads who live in the northern Sahara Desert.”


2020 Volkswagen Up!

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG​

Volkswagen: “The city car sold in Europe has had the punctuation mark included with its proper name, much as #PinkBeetle serves double duty as a social-media hashtag. "‘Up!’ also happens to be the middle two letters in "Lupo," one of the vehicle's predecessors. (‘Lupo’ is Latin for wolf, while ‘Amarok’ means a similar animal in Inuit – both nods to VW's hometown of Wolfsburg, Germany.)”

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VW purchased the rights to the iconic Scout name and plans to make new EVs under the brand.


Automakers bring back names and brands from the past all the time, but it's not every day that a major company purchases a brand name specifically for the purpose of reviving it. That's exactly what Volkswagen just did with Scout, the name of an ultra-popular off-road SUV that was built by International Harvester in the 1960s and 1970s.

As for the types of vehicles we'll see from the brand, we currently only have the renders to go on. The pickup truck and SUV both feature throwback styling that is reminiscent of the original Scout shapes. Beefy off-road tires and lifted suspension are the only other clues available in the drawings.

Volkswagen has its own EVs, and its other brands like Audi and Porsche have made significant progress with electric vehicles as well. That said, VW doesn't really have a solid off-road option from any of its brands at the moment, so the Scout purchase opens doors for the automaker in that arena.

The announcement sounds exciting, but we've still got plenty of time to wait before there's a Scout-branded EV on the roads. Volkswagen said the plan is to release vehicles by 2026, but it won't be sitting idle between now and then. The VW ID.4 is still very fresh and the automaker says it will launch a total of 25 new EVs in the U.S. by 2030.

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The ID. Buzz enters production in Europe soon.


The Volkswagen ID. Buzz is one of the most anticipated EVs in a sea of desirable and exciting new vehicles. With retro styling and an all-electric powertrain, the van promises to be a funky, futuristic people-hauler with plenty of new tech. Today, VW handed out specs and information on the van during its global launch.

Volkswagen ID. BuzzInterior and exterior design ooze retro style. Volkswagen

Two configurations are available: A five-seat passenger version and a three-seat cargo version. Both ride on Volkswagen's modular electric drive platform (MEB), and both are rear-wheel drive. Power output lands at 201 horsepower and 229 pound-feet of torque, and the van's top speed reaches 145 mph.

Inside is where the magic happens. The passenger van features five seats, and in top models the seats come with massaging functionality. The three-person bench seat in the second row can be folded flat or folded 60/40, and the seat slides up to 5.9 inches front to back. Six-passenger seating is standard, but an extended wheelbase seven-seat configuration will be offered.

Inside, a ten-inch digital gauge cluster is standard, and pairs with a ten-inch infotainment touchscreen. A 12-inch display is available, and touch controls handle climate controls and audio volume. Rather than a traditional gear selector lever, Volkswagen uses a stalk mounted on the steering column. The Cargo version gets special storage functions, including a removal center console and several storage bins.

Volkswagen ID. BuzzBoth passenger and cargo configurations are offered.Volkswagen

ID. Buzz Cargo production starts in Europe early this year, with production of the standard van following shortly after. The European launch is scheduled for the third quarter of 2022, and the van will launch in North America in 2024. Volkswagen has not yet nailed down the model year for the new van, and will release more information closer to its release.

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