The Name Of Which Car Company Means "I Roll" in Latin?

Dustin Hawley | Feb 11, 2021

Stories of car companies searching for the best name to represent their brand are as old as the history of the automobile itself. After all, the term “car” is just one of many words that describe a four-wheeled vehicle. Other terms like vehicle or roadster are still in the vocabulary of everyday people and gearheads alike. But do you know where industrialists frequently turned for inspiration to name their cars? 

Latin.

Volvo means I Roll in latin

One of the most intriguing stories about the evolution of a car brand’s name is Volvo. The company was founded by Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson in 1927, and the duo joined forces to build a vehicle more suitable for the cold Scandinavian climate and uneven roads. What Gabrielsson and Larson had in mind was a car that “rolls” in all conditions. Translated from Latin, the word “volvere” means “to roll.” After conjugation, the term “volvo” has a literal meaning – “I roll.”

Latin Origins: An Outline - Find the best Volvo deals!

Translated from Latin, the word “auto” means “self,” and “mobilis” is “mobile.” 

The two words combined create the word “automobile.” the purpose of which was to describe a self-moving vehicle. In fact, the term “car” is also derived from Latin. The word “Carrus” can be translated to “wheeled vehicle.”

The Latin language offers almost unlimited opportunities for authoritative naming. Thus, it is not a surprise to see car companies experimenting with Latin words and their meanings. As a result, two prominent car company names emanated from the language of ancient Rome.

Apart from Volvo, German automaker Audi can also thank the ancient Romans and their prolific language. August Horch, the founder of Audi, found it challenging to name the company after discovering he would be unable to use his surname. Luckily for him, the German word “horchen” means “to listen.” This word, translated to Latin, results in “audire.” And just like that, the name Audi was officially spawned.

The Rise Of The Word Volvo - Find the best Volvo deals!

Before the Volvo car company even came to be, the word “volvo” was already circling around the offices of a Swedish car parts company named Svenska Kullagerfabriken (SKF). Apparently, in an unusual burst of creativity, one of the workers at SKF thought that the word Volvo would fit the new ball-bearing subsidiary inside the company. However, the name ended up gracing the front end of the Gabrielsson vehicles, which ironically, was primarily funded by SKF.

Volvo After WWII - Find the best Volvo deals!

Following World War II, the PV444 was Volvo’s first production vehicle and was highly regarded by the public. Its production continued until 1958 when the PV544 was phased in, and the PV444 became a launchpad of sorts for ascending the Volvo brand into prominence.

After its initial success, Volvo’s most significant venture came in 1961 with the release of the elegant P1800 coupe. You may remember the P1800; it was the car actor Roger Moore drove in the TV show The Saint. The P1800 was revolutionary for Volvo, completely changing the market outlook for the brand. In an instant, the Volvo transitioned into a vehicle that people didn’t want to just drive. It became an automobile that people desired. 

By 1983, Volvo had already sold more than 5 million cars worldwide. Interestingly, around the same time, the Dutch government had invested enough capital in the company to claim 30% of its shares. As a result of this substantial influence in the company, Volvo began heavily investing in its vehicles’ safety features.

In 1992, Volvo launched the first-ever consumer vehicle with side airbags – the 850 front-drive model. The company continues innovating today, building upon its stellar reputation for safety. In 1958, Volvo invented the three-point seatbelt – which is widely considered the most important vehicle safety feature of all time. Some experts even calculated that seatbelts saved 15,000 lives in 2017 alone. 

Volvo has even extended its efforts of working on road safety, with the company pioneering numerous active and passive safety features, such as the child safety seat and side-impact airbags.

Volvo’s Striking Image Change In Recent Years - Find the best Volvo deals!

The Swedish marque has come a long way from mundane, boxy-looking vehicles to cars and SUVs that turn heads. Thanks to a winning run of several sport utility models that successfully combined comfort with the latest technological advancements, Volvo became synonymous with not only safety, but also excitement. The year 2014 brought three concept cars - the Concept Coupe, the Concept XC Coupe, and the Concept Estate. 

Robin Page, Volvo’s Senior Vice President of Design, explained that “the object was to put the focus back on design and to replace the entire range of a product.” The change came in the form of the brand’s SUV lineup, including the XC90, XC60, XC40, and the S90 and S60 sedans. Volvo also promised that every car it makes from 2019 onward would have an electric motor.

Volvo Cars’ Philosophy And The Human-Centric Design - Find the best Volvo deals!

Remarkably, Volvo has continuously built on its reputation for safety, so much so that it became one of the top choices for buyers in recent years. According to Volvo Reports: Safety First: The Evolution of Driving and Mobility published in 2020, surveys showed 87% of buyers claimed that safety is more important than authenticity, innovation, or esthetic when seeking out car brands.

Summary - Find the best Volvo deals!

Striking a balance between safety and style, Volvo has found a way to stay true to its Scandinavian roots while providing a more dynamic performance for drivers. There can not be a more significant indicator that the Volvo car company upheld its ethos and justified its namesake, keeping drivers safe and “rolling” along for decades.

Explore new car previews
Volkswagen ID. Aero Concept Preview
Volkswagen ID. Aero Concept Preview
VW is looking to the future with a new concept car. The ID. Aero concept is a sleek premium electric sedan with stunning range and futuristic style, and it’s close to becoming a reality.
Read the full review
2023 Subaru Ascent Preview
2023 Subaru Ascent Preview
Subaru updates the Ascent SUV for the 2023 model year with a light facelift, new safety tech, and improved convenience features.
Read the full review
2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV Preview
2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV Preview
General Motors' (GM) vehicle-electrification strategy is accelerating, and its brands are announcing new models rapidly. Chevrolet has now set a date for the reveal of the new Blazer EV. Chevy will reveal the electric SUV on July 18 with an expected on-sale date of Spring 2023.
Read the full review
Read all articles


Scroll to the top
New Car Preview
2024 Volkswagen ID. Buzz Preview
Most Dependable
2019 Vehicle Dependability: Most Dependable Luxury Coupes and Convertibles
Most Popular
10 Most Popular Trucks
New Model Update
New for 2019: Kia
New Car Preview
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV Preview
More related
articles