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The Meanings behind the Monikers: Toyota’s Vehicle Names

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If you drive a Yaris or a Corolla, chances are you’ve never given a second thought to the meanings behind these names. But as with most automakers (excluding the ones who just throw letters and numbers and models and call it good), Toyota’s vehicle names each have a unique meaning—some more obvious than others. Toyota UK’s blog recently shared the meanings behind some popular models’ names: here are the ones available in the US.

Corolla: A Rose Among Thorns

Toyota's vehicle names

2015 Toyota Corolla

As one of the world’s best-selling cars year after year, the name Corolla is instantly recognizable even by those not particularly interested in the auto industry. But where does the name “Corolla” come from? The word actually refers to the ring of petals around the central part of a flower. Toyota chose this name for its small sedan to remind drivers of the Corolla’s beautiful styling and eye-catching detail (qualities often lost in boring sedans). This name might be a bit of a stretch, but it’s definitely here to stay, as is the Corolla itself.

Yaris: Beautiful and Elegant

Toyota's vehicle names

2015 Toyota Yaris

The name “Yaris” is actually a mashup of two different words: “Charis,” the symbol for beauty and elegance in Greek mythology; and “Ya,” the German word for “yes.” The reason Toyota replaced the “ch” with the “ya” is to signify the sought-after European market’s approval and acceptance of the subcompact hatchback as a mainstay on its roads. So the Yaris is beautiful, elegant, and makes you go “YES!” Obviously.

Prius: Grandaddy of Hybrids

Toyota's vehicle names

2015 Toyota Prius

The word “Prius” is actually Latin, meaning “prior” or “previous.” Toyota chose this name for its flagship hybrid to signify the fact that before its 1997 release in Japan, there had never before been a mass-produced hybrid vehicle. Fun fact: The plural of “Prius” is officially “Prii,” as decided by the public during a Toyota marketing campaign. However, in Latin, the plural of “Prius” would actually be “Priora” or “Priores.” Not quite as catchy though, is it?

Camry: Toyota’s Crown

Toyota's vehicle names

2015 Toyota Camry

The name “Camry” is derived from the Japanese “kanmuri,” which means “crown.” While at the time, Toyota probably just thought it was a cool name, it turns out that “Camry” is very fitting for this sedan, given its continued popularity over the years in the American market making it a jewel in Toyota’s crown.

Do you drive any of the aforementioned vehicles? If so, do you agree with its naming, or can you think of a better name for your car? Let us know in the comments!