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Cars Named After a Place

Automobile manufacturers have used some 'visionary' practices for naming cars. For example, many have named their car models after US states, while others have used famous cities in Europe.

So, we thought it would be interesting to create a list of cars named after places, with a brief anecdote about the relationship between the locality and the car named after it.

A-Z List of Car Models Named after Places

Choosing a catchy or memorable name for anything is not an easy task - especially a vehicle!

Of course, you could always name the car after yourself (if you created it), such as the Ferrari Enzo.

Nonetheless, the problem of naming a car model is a perpetual one if you are going to launch new versions.

It's fair to say that most of the modern vehicle manufacturers will use some combination of letters and numbers (e.g. Audi Q3).

But, our quest was to find some of the more maverick and adventurous car names. So, we created this list of cars named after places around the world... and the reasons for using that particular designation.

Editor's Bio: We are self-confessed car fanatics and we enjoy writing blog articles about the automotive industry - especially here in the United Kingdom.

Alfa Romeo Montreal

By and large, the Italian carmaker Alfa Romeo is best known for making sport-oriented cars and racing. In 1967, they introduced a "nameless" concept car at Expo 67 in Montreal, Quebec.

With good fortune, the locals adopted the name for this new 2+2 coupe with a 1.6-litre engine. They called it "The Montreal" and the nametag stuck when they finally started production in 1970.

But wait - there's more:

The initial price tag for the Alfa Romeo Montreal was a little over £5,000. In other words, it was even more expensive than a Porsche 911 and the Jaguar E-Type.

For the record, Montreal is the most populous city in the province of Quebec and the second most populous city in Canada.


Austin Montego

If only we could describe the Austin Montego as having some resemblance to its exotic namesake Montego Bay on the northern coast of Jamaica. But we can't!

Instead, let's focus on a British family car produced by British Leyland between 1984 and 1988. We should also point out that the Rover Group continued the role from 1988 through to 1995.

The Montego replaced the rear-wheel drive Morris Ital as well as the front-wheel drive Austin Ambassador ranges.

Why?

British Leyland, based in Birmingham, needed a competitor to rival the large family car "Vauxhall Cavalier" and the ever popular "Ford Sierra".

Austin Westminster

The British automobile manufacturer "Austin" first started selling large Westminster saloons and estates in 1954.

The fleet turned out to be a significant replacement for the outdated Austin A70 Hampshire, and later, the Hereford.

In fact:

It became commonplace for Austin to use the names of the UK Home Counties for its vehicles towards the end of the Second World War.

Moreover, they decided to designate place names that covered large areas of land, especially on the south coast of England, such as Devon and Dorset.

The title of Austin Westminster was even more specific. Its heritage comes from the City of Westminster - an area located entirely inside London. It also includes the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, and Westminster Abbey.


Bentley Brooklands

Over the years, Bentley Motors Limited has become famous for a comprehensive range of luxury cars and SUVs.

The first Brooklands built by the British automobile manufacturer was a large luxury saloon that replaced an outdated Bentley Mulsanne in 1992.

Bentley Brooklands: Cars Names after PlacesIn 2007, they introduced a 2-door, 4-seater hardtop coupé version of the Bentley Azure - embracing the classic Brooklands nameplate.

Key takeaway:

Brooklands was a banked race track in the county of Surrey. But, they requisitioned the circuit at the start of the Second World War.

It was also the original stomping ground where Bentley achieved many of its greatest triumphs, especially in the 1920s and the 1930s.

Bentley Mulsanne

The Bentley Bentayga (EWB) replaced the 10+ year illustrious lifespan of the Mulsanne. A dedicated team handcrafted more than 7,300 Mulsanne sedans at Bentley's home in Crewe, Cheshire, in the northwest of England.

An association with the 24 Hour of Le Mans race goes back about a hundred years ago. The dominance of British cars was unrivalled during the early days. In fact, they won the race outright in 1924, 1927, 1928, 1929, and again in 1930.

Here's the thing:

The name of a Le Mans circuit corner (and the original straight approaching it) is Mulsanne. Furthermore, there is a small commune in the near vicinity called Mulsanne in north-western France.

Among others, the name of the famous racing circuit was also taken by the South Korean Daewoo LeMans for their small compact car manufactured between 1986 and 1994.

Pro Tip: Check out our Bentley Mulsanne review for the United Kingdom for further details about a grand limousine that combines opulence with scintillating performance


Buick Riviera

There is a simple reason why Buick chose the name Riviera for their personal luxury car between 1966 and 1999. In fact, Riviera is an Italian word for coastline, and the Buick marketers wanted to induce a sense of "affluence".


Cadillac Calais

One of the cheapest Cadillac models ever made was the entry-level Calais (produced in the mid 60s). The renaming of the Series 60 to "Cadillac Calais" took place in 1965 when it adopted the same namesake as the French industrial seaport.

Cadillac Seville

Even though Cadillac discontinued the Seville in 2004, it was a sportier mid-size luxury car - compared to the bigger Cadillac DeVille version.

Cars Named After a Place: Cadillac Seville 1983The smaller compact had been selling well from 1975 until the Cadillac STS finally replaced it in late 2004.

After considering hundreds of suggestions, they took on the nameplate that matched a Spanish province in the south of the Mediterranean country.

It became so popular with the American automobile manufacturer, they used it for subsequent vehicles.

Note: The marketing department named the car after the beautiful city of Seville located in the Andalusia region of southern Spain. But, Seville is also a village in Medina County, Ohio, in the United States.


Chevrolet Bel Air

Like the Austin Westminster, the Chevrolet Bel Air is another car named after an area within a city. In other words, Chevrolet took on board the residential neighbourhood of Los Angeles known as Bel-Air in California in 1950.

Chevrolet Colorado

The introduction of the Colorado occurred in 2004. In fact, it replaced two compact pickups - the S-10 and the GMC S-15 (Sonoma).

Of course, Colorado happens to be a U.S. state and the deep mountainous chasm between the cliffs refers to the mechanical commonality that the Chevy Colorado shares with the GMC Canyon.

Chevrolet Malibu

It's quite obvious why certain car models are named after famous places around the world. The Chevrolet Malibu is one of them, as it shares its moniker with the beach city in the Santa Monica Mountains region of California.

Chevrolet Monte Carlo

Another good example of cars named after a place is the Chevy Monte Carlo. It relates to an administrative area of the Principality of Monaco which is located at the southwestern base of the Maritime Alps running along the French Riviera.

You might also agree that the Lancia Montecarlo (a mid-engined sports car designed by Pininfarina) copied their idea... almost!

Chevrolet Tahoe

You will need to head out to the western United States to find the freshwater of "Lake Tahoe" in the Sierra Nevada. The term was first used on the Chevrolet Tahoe as a reference to its trim level (especially the S-10 models).


Chrysler New Yorker

In the early days, the success of the Chrysler New Yorker brand proved to be a mark of upscale car models for the US company.

The name chosen for the trim level was the "New York Special" in 1938. But, the "New Yorker" name made its debut a year later. It became the longest-running American car nameplate until 1996.

It's fair to say New York City, a state in the Northeastern United States, is one of the most famous cities in the world. Among other large institutions, most people recognise it as being the anchor for Wall Street in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan.

Chrysler Saratoga

The first rendering of the Saratoga nameplate took place in 1939 and continued for several years until the US entered the Second World War.

Cars Named after a Place: Chrysler Saratoga 1960Even so, there were three distinct eras of production with a range of closed body styles (sedan, limousine, and coupe):

  • 1939-1941
  • 1942-1952
  • 1957-1960

In the late 80s, they re-used the Saratoga name for an exclusive model rebadged as a Dodge Spirit in Europe.

There are some classic car fanatics who still believe the car's nametag comes from the Saratoga Springs in New York state. But, the most likely explanation goes to a small town only a few miles away.

Chrysler Sebring

Naming a car after a place doesn't come much simpler than using the city of Sebring in Florida. Yet, dig a little deeper and you realise that the famous race circuit Sebring International Raceway is only a short trip away.


Colt Sapporo

From 1978, the Japanese manufacturers used several names for this rear-wheel drive hardtop coupé. For example, besides being called the Mitsubishi Galant Lambda and Plymouth Sapporo, they actually badged it as the Mitsubishi Sapporo in the United Kingdom.

Nonetheless, the Colt's name derives from the city of Sapporo in Japan, most famous for hosting the 1972 Winter Olympic Games.


Dodge Aspen

Nowadays, Aspen is a famous ski resort and a municipality in Pitkin County, Colorado. But, few people will remember it as a mining town when the silver boom started in 1879.

Dodge decided to use the place name Aspen when they started manufacturing compact cars (Volaré/Aspen model line) from 1976 to 1980.

Even so, having a catchy car name failed to increase its popularity and they abandoned its production after releasing the 1980 model.

Dodge Dakota

In a similar fashion, they also named the Dodge Dakota (a mid size pick-up truck) and the Dodge Charger Daytona (designed for NASCAR racing), after places with links to several towns, cities, and counties in the USA.


Ferrari California

As you may have guessed, the Italian automobile manufacturer "Ferrari" created the extraordinary Ferrari California (Type F149) high performance sports car.

In essence, American customers got an open-top version of the sporty Ferrari 250 GT. Imagine the thrill of driving a two-door 2+2 hard top convertible in sunny California, nicknamed The Golden State, and the very place after which the car was named.

Ferrari Portofino

Some of its most endearing fans still say the Ferrari Portofino is one of the best sports cars ever made by the Italian automotive manufacturer.

Ferrari PortofinoHere are some of the reasons why we might agree:

  • Two-door 2+2 convertible with retractable hardtop.
  • 3.9 litre twin-turbo V8 eight cylinder gasoline engine.
  • 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) time of 3.5 seconds.

So, where does Ferrari's location-based name come from for this spectacular model?

Of course, it's named after a place that is famous for its unique beauty. Thus, Portofino is a small harbour located in the Metropolitan City of Genoa on the Italian Riviera.

Unveiled in March 2023, the replacement for the Portofino is another superb convertible - the Ferrari Roma Spider coupe.


Fiat 131 Mirafiori

Only a few vehicles can say they got their brand name from the company headquarters. But, the industrial district of the Italian automobile manufacturer Fiat (the Mirafiori Factory) is one of them.

The family sedan called the Fiat 131 first appeared in 1974 and they continued making it until 1984. They made it available as either a two or four-door saloon and there was a 5-door estate version that helped it succeed the outdated Fiat 124.


Ford Capri

One of the regular inclusions to our blog about cars is a fastback coupé called the Ford Capri. The superior styling comes from the American automotive designer Philip Thomas Clark, the same person who helped to design the classic Ford Mustang.

In fact, one of the major objectives for the Capri was to become an equivalent version of the Ford Mustang in Europe. To prove a point, it sold almost 1.9 million units throughout its illustrious lifetime (from 1969 to 1986).

Put another way:

Naming cars after places around the world doesn't get much simpler than popular Ford models. The azure blue waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea in the Bay of Naples is the setting for the island of Capri in the southern Italian region of Campania.

Ford Cortina

As most Italians will already know, "Cortina d'Ampezzo" is a town in the province of Belluno and a popular ski resort.

It came to pass that the Ford Cortina, manufactured from 1962 to 1980, was named after the heart of the southern (Dolomitic) Alps in Italy.

Ford Escort Mexico

It seems so long ago, but it all started with the London-Mexico World Cup Rally in 1970. Imagine driving a Ford escort in a motor rally starting at Wembley Stadium and finishing in Mexico City some five (5) weeks later. The groundbreaking race covered around 16,000 miles of European and South American terrain.

Needless to say, the event gave rise to the 1598cc special edition 1970 Ford Escort Mexico road versions in honour of the achievements made by the famous rally car.

Ford Torino

English-speaking countries might know the area as Turin. But, Torino is actually the name of an Italian city with huge importance for the motor industry.

1971 Ford Torino GT 429CJIn fact, the US automakers retired the Ford Fairlane name in 1970 and changed it to "Torino" as the main brand for their intermediate-sized car.

They also built an aerodynamic muscle car version of the original in the early weeks of 1969 - calling it the "Torino Talladega'.

The badge refers to the Talladega Superspeedway, a popular NASCAR venue in Alabama.

In other words, this particular vehicle is one of only a few cars named after two different places - Torino in Italy and Talladega in the USA. That's a distance of 7,855 kilometres!

Pro Tip: Another section contains more information about the most popular Ford 4x4 and SUV models and technical specifications.


GMC Yukon

It's true to say the GMC Yukon (first introduced in 1991) and the Chevrolet Tahoe SUV have been strong companions for many years.

So, for the record, the Yukon is a wild mountainous territory in northwest Canada. Whereas, Lake Tahoe is a large freshwater lake located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, an area that straddles the border between California and Nevada.

Popular Blog Posts

So far, we have covered 27 places linked to car names... and we're only half way through! This might be a good time to bookmark this page for later and take a look through some of the most read articles from our car blog.

Pro Tip: The main blogger section contains a full list of automotive blog topics and trending articles about different makes and models... from bangers to Bentleys!


Hyundai Kona

The first generation of the Hyundai Kona, one of the subcompact crossover SUVs, debuted in 2017. In case you hadn't realised, it takes its model name from the town situated on the west coast of Hawaii Island (the Big Island).

Hyundai Palisade

In fact, Hyundai Motors has been manufacturing and marketing the mid-size SUV crossover called Palisade since 2018.

The name comes from the 'statutory town' in Mesa County, in the Mountain West subregion of Colorado, in the United States of America.

Hyundai Santa Cruz

The Santa Cruz is one of Hyundai's four-door compact pickup trucks released in 2021 mainly for the North American market. As a result, the name shares an uncanny resemblance with the university city located on the central coastline of California.

Hyundai Santa Fe

The South Korean auto manufacturer also started producing one of their five-door crossover Sport Utilities in 2000.

It's available with front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive and they named it after the city of Santa Fe, which is the capital city of New Mexico.

Hyundai Tucson

Naming a car after the city of Tucson, Pima County Arizona has certain implications about its popularity. In fact, the Hyundai Tucson has become a respected SUV in Europe, China, and Australia.


Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge

There is a famous part of the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps (Spa) in Belgium called the Eau Rouge corner (the only left-hander).

It's reasonable to assume that this is how the Infiniti Q50 compact executive car from Nissan got its rather outlandish nametag.


Kia Rio

The South Korean multinational automobile manufacturer known as Kia started producing the subcompact car "Kia Rio" in 1999 and named it after the seaside city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

Kia Sedona

Labelling a car after a place surrounded by steep canyon walls, red-rock buttes, and pine forests seems a little odd to some.

Yet, a company better known for its Kia 4x4 models did exactly that. They used a tagline from the desert town of Sedona in Arizona.


Lincoln Versailles

The Palace of Versailles was the main residence for several French kings and it's only about nineteen (19) kilometres west of Paris.

In a bid to steal some of the success away from the Cadillac Seville, the mid-size luxury Lincoln Versailles used the French title from 1977.


Maserati Sebring

Another car christened with the title of a famous race circuit, the Sebring International Raceway, is a two-door 2+2 coupé manufactured by Maserati between 1962 and 1968.


Mazda Montrose

There are very few cars named after places in Scotland, and even fewer Mazda 4x4 SUV crossover models (SUVs).

Yet, one of the early alternatives to the Ford Cortina honoured a Mazda dealer in the sleepy market town of Montrose, in Angus (north of Dundee).


Mercedes-Benz Mannheim

It seems reasonable for Mercedes to name some cars after German towns or cities. To prove a point, this Mannheim made its debut in 1929 and used a city located in southwest Germany with the same name.

Mercury Montclair

The Mercury division of Ford® manufactured a series of full-size sedans from the mid fifties. The Mercury Montclair has since become one of the valuable collectors cars appearing at American car auctions on a regular basis.

So, where did the name come from?

In fact, some doubt still lingers as to the exact origins. But, most of the historic car appraisal companies suggest that it derives from an upper class community of Montclair, a commercial and cultural hub of New Jersey.


Morris Oxford

There is no fixed answer to the question of how old is a classic car in the United Kingdom? But, researching the British privately owned vehicle manufacturers of "Morris Motors Limited" will offer you some important clues.

The journey began with the "bullnose" Morris Oxford way back in 1913 and later involved the Morris Oxford Farina series until 1971.

Moving on...

Morris named several cars after the city of Oxford, which is most famous for its university and the annual set of rowing races with their rival, Cambridge. But, the county of Oxfordshire is near Buckinghamshire in the South East of England.


Pontiac Bonneville

The Bonneville Salt Flats stretch for more than 30,000 acres near the Utah-Nevada border in the US. But, the authentic and esteemed Bonneville car name made its first appearance in 1954.

They used it on a pair of bubble-topped concept cars, called the Pontiac Bonneville Special, which shared several similarities with the Chevrolet Corvette luxury sports car.

Pontiac Montana

Montana is a state in Western United States, bordered by Idaho to the west and the Dakotas to the east. It is best known for having a low cost of living and low crime rates.

Pontiac Montana 2006The Pontiac vehicle that adopted its namesake was a minivan sold by General Motors from 1997 to 2009.

GM produced three Multi-Purpose Vehicles (MPV) in the 1990s that were almost the same (badged differently).

By and large, Pontiac Trans Sport became the name for the range. But, they named one of the trim levels after the US state of Montana.

Pontiac changed its game plan for the 1999 model year and decided to use Montana for the actual model - despite having a poor safety record. They addressed the matter ready for the second-generation Montana when it later debuted in 2005.


Porsche Cayenne

The German auto company has been manufacturing the Porsche Cayenne since 2002. But, some fans still can't agree on whether this luxury crossover SUV is a full-sized or a midsize vehicle.

Nevertheless, it is true to say that this model takes its moniker from the capital city of French Guiana. In fact, the motto of the city of Cayenne is "work brings wealth".

Pro Tip: Read more about these high-performance sports cars in our Porsche models list with coverage of news items issued by Porsche Cars Great Britain Limited.


Renault Floride

The Renault badged as "Floride" actually completed its unveiling at the Paris Motor Show in 1958. It was a rear-engined design that used the same floorpan as the rear-wheel-drive Renault Dauphine sedan.

They launched the Floride as the Renault Caravelle in Canada and United States a year after introducing it in Europe. As a result, the car takes its name from the French version of "Florida" (The Sunshine State in the USA).


Riley Monaco

Riley was a famous British car and bicycle manufacturer based in Coventry, England. They made the fabric bodied saloon from 1926 to 1938 and called it the Riley Monaco, named after the principality on the French Riviera.


Rolls-Royce Camargue

Charles Rolls and Henry Royce produced the first car ever badged as a Rolls-Royce in 1904. It was known as a Model 10 Type A (10 hp) and it cost £395 to buy it.

More than a century later, we had to make a detailed search to find a Rolls-Royce car named after a place around the world. It wasn't an easy task but we found one.

Here's the deal:

A 2-door luxury saloon shares its automotive title with a coastal region in southern France famous for wild white horses and pink flamingos - Camargue.

Pro Tip: Another section spotlights some interesting and popular vehicles unsold in Great Britain and the key reasons why some are banned.


SEAT Ibiza

In the beginning, it was commonplace for SEAT to name their models after Spanish towns or cities. Typical examples include Arona, León, Málaga, Marbella, and Ronda.

In 1984, they launched the supermini car called the SEAT Ibiza, named after one of the Balearic islands of Spain in the Mediterranean Sea.


Skoda Kodiaq

The modern Škoda 4x4 models have become very popular over the last few decades. But, they registered the first-generation Kodiaq back in 2006.

And the car name? It refers to the large brown bear that lives on Kodiak Island found off the south coast of Alaska.


Subaru Tribeca

Even though it used to be farmland, Tribeca is a neighbourhood in Lower Manhattan, New York City. Subaru adopted it for their midsize crossover Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV) made between 2005 and 2014.


Toyota Tacoma

The Japanese automobile manufacturer started releasing Toyota Tacoma pickup trucks in 1995. They got the name from the Mount Rainier region in the U.S. state of Washington.

Note: Toyota used the 100 series for the basis of the Lexus LX 470 (sold since 1996). They also produced the "Toyota Land Cruiser Amazon" version from 1998 to 2007 in the United Kingdom and Ireland.


Triumph Toledo

In fact, Triumph named a car after a place in Spain more than twenty years before SEAT. It was the 1976 rear-wheel-drive saloon version of the Dolomite called the Triumph Toledo.


Vauxhall Belmont

The British car company, Vauxhall Motors Limited, started selling the Vauxhall Belmont saloon (a rebadged Opel Kadett E saloon) in Great Britain from 1986 until 1991. Coincidence or not, Belmont is a village in the ceremonial county of Lancashire, England.

Pro Tip: DVLA records show only twenty three (23) Belmonts remained on the roads as of 2019. Despite being extremely rare vehicles, a further sixty nine (69) Vauxhall Belmonts still have a SORN declaration in the United Kingdom.

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