Last month we mentioned how Dennis of Campus fame was involved in a dispute with Volvo over the ‘illo modo volvo’ (i.e. ‘That’s how I roll’) t-shirt he was marketing. In an interesting bit of synchronicity, Road and Track has a feature on how various car companies got their names. Here’s the excerpt of interest to us:
Some car company logos owe their existence to legalities and economies of scale. In 1909, having left the company bearing his name, August Horch established a second automobile company in Zwickau, Germany. But with his name already in use, Horch had a serious problem. He couldn’t legally name his new company after himself. However, when translated into Latin, “Horch”—which means “hark”—became the lawyer-friendly “Audi.” The four interlinked Audi rings came about in 1932, when four struggling automakers joined together under the corporate banner of Auto Union. These companies included Audi, DKW, Wanderer and, ironically, the original Horch.
Volvo also has Latin roots. Meaning “I roll,” the name was taken from a brand of ball bearings before it was applied to the Swedish automaker in 1924. The Volvo logo is the Roman symbol for iron—symbolizing a warrior’s shield and spear. The diagonal streak across the grille was originally only a mounting point for the badge, but is now “almost as much a brand ID as our iron symbol,” says Daniel Johnston, Product Communications Manager at Volvo Cars North America.
… not sure where they get the ‘Roman symbol for iron’ stuff; perhaps it’s a Roman symbol for Mars. I can’t find any connection of this symbol with “iron” except in conjunction, interestingly enough, with Volvo.
One thought on “Illo Modo Volvo Redux”
The bit at the end is incorrect. The symbol in the logo is a well known alchemy symbol for iron. A quick google search for “alchemy iron symbol” will provide several results which have no connection to Volvo at all.