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.

Arteon

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."

Atlas

Volkswagen Atlas Basecamp Styling Package Photo 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 Sport Photo 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')."

Beetle

1979 Volkswagen Super Beetle Photo 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.)"

CC

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.”

Corrado

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.)”

Eos

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

GLI

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.”

Golf

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."

GTI

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

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

Jetta

1982 Volkswagen Jetta Mk1 Photo 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."

Passat

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.”

Phaeton

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.​“

Scirocco

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.”

Taos

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.“

Tiguan

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."

Touareg

Volkswagen Touareg Photo 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.”

Up!

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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Interesting backstory

Volkswagen Bus part inspired popular dog toy

The classic VW Bus inspired one of the most popular dog toys of all time.

Volkswagen

Product designs sometimes take inspiration from the places we expect the least. Moments of genius are driven by finding solutions to unique problems, and as it turns out, that's exactly how we ended up with KONG. The beefy, durable dog chew toy is modeled after a Volkswagen Bus part.

Joe Markham's shop Markham needed a dog for security, but he unexpectedly got a chew-crazy pet.Volkswagen

KONG's inventor, Joe Markham, adopted a German Shepherd to help with security at his auto repair shop in downtown Denver, CO. The dog, while a great addition to the shop, came with a few bad habits. The dog's most worrisome hobby was chewing, which he would do with almost anything he could find, especially rocks. As you might imagine, chewing on rocks is not good for the dog's teeth. Markham needed a durable chew toy, but nothing seemed to work, from animal bones to radiator hoses.

The solution came from an unlikely place: While working on a 1960sVW Type 2 Bus, Markham discovered that the rubber axle stop made a perfect chew toy. The dog had gotten ahold of the rubber stop, and while he was chewing viciously, neither the stop nor his teeth were damaged.

The discovery led Markham to spend the next six years experimenting with various rubbers, sizes, and shapes for his dog toy. After working with rubber experts in Germany, the design was finalized and the KONG was born. The shape for the toy ended up being very close to that of the axle stop. The funky, bulbous design meant that the toy wouldn't bounce like a ball, and would instead flop around randomly, which is similar to the way that small animals run away from predators.

VW Bus axle stop The axle stop from a VW Bus inspired KONG's shape.Volkswagen

It's worth noting that you should not intentionally let your dog chew on any part of your vehicle. Even unused automotive parts can contain chemicals and other harmful materials that could make your dog sick or worse. This isn't a pitch to buy a KONG, just a warning about the hazards of car parts being used as dog toys.

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The new Tiguan sports an all-new front-end design.

Volkswagen

The Volkswagen Tiguan is an interesting compact SUV with a fun-to-drive personality and plenty of style. After 14 years on sale, the Tiguan is just in its second generation, but VW has given it a significant update for the 2022 model year that brings new tech, updated styling, and a refreshed interior.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan The rear has been massaged with new badging and standard LED taillights. Volkswagen

The restyled Tiguan is available in four trim levels: S, SE, and SE R-Line Black. All models get a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard, but VW's 4Motion all-wheel drive can be optioned in.

Styling updates are the big story for the 2022 Tiguan. The front end is entirely new and carries design cues from the larger Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport. LED headlights are now standard, and an illuminated light line is available for the SUV's grille. On the rear liftgate, the Tiguan model name lettering also mirrors that of the Atlas, with the name spelled out underneath the VW logo.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan Most trims get an 8-inch touchscreen.Volkswagen

Inside, the Tiguan now comes standard with heated seats, while a heated steering wheel and ventilated seats are available. Cloth upholstery is standard, while mid-range trims get leatherette. The top SEL R-Line comes with leather and a perforated leather-wrapped sport steering wheel. Front-wheel drive models come standard with three rows of seating as well, making the Tiguan one of the more family-friendly vehicles in its class.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan The top trim gets upscale leather upholstery.Volkswagen

The base Tiguan S comes with a 6.5-inch touchscreen running Volkswagen's excellent MIB 2 software, but all others get MIB 3 infotainment software running on a glass-covered 8.0-inch touchscreen. The automaker notes that it's a capacitive touch system, which functions more like a smartphone than other infotainment systems, which sometimes require pressure to register a touch input. All Tiguans get a digital gauge cluster with an 8-inch display, while the top SEL R-Line upgrades to a 10.25-inch configurable gauge cluster that offers full-screen navigation and other views.

Pricing for the 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan starts at $25,995 for the base S trim with front-wheel drive. Adding all-wheel drive pushes the prices to $27,495. All Tiguan models will see a $1,195 destination charge tacked on at the bottom line.

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