Car lineup
Charlotte Birchall

Charlotte Birchall

Charlotte is the Digital Marketing Specialist here at Carparison, in charge of getting all our brilliant emails out. She has a wealth of marketing experience under her belt, and there is no-one better at finding their way around automations.

Read time of 8 minutes.

Catchy car slogans and taglines...

We uncover some of the most iconic taglines in the history of motoring – but can you guess the brand?

Brand image is key in the automotive world. It doesn’t matter how technically brilliant your vehicle production is, if you aren’t projecting the right image, chances are you’re going to be missing out on some all-important customer loyalty. Don’t believe us? Hop in a time machine and head back to the 80s and see what the bods at Skoda have to say about it.

Hitting the right note with a brand slogan takes a lot of effort and many well-known manufacturers have changed tactics over time to accurately reflect their customer demographic. Nothing wrong with that – change is healthy, after all.

One thing is certain though, when vehicle brands get it right, the general public don’t forget it. Much like a great advert, a great tagline will stay with you forever. We’ve picked our top ten favourites of all time – how many of these memorable taglines do you remember?

 

10. Everything we do is driven by you: Ford

Ford logo

After a tricky time in the 70s and 80s, Ford’s marketing people came up with this catchy little number. And if you find yourself inadvertently singing the slogan but aren’t quite sure why, rest assured you aren’t going mad.

In a genius move, Ford hit upon the idea of combining music and marketing in the early 1990s for their advertisements for the entire Ford range.

But not just any music…not fond of doing things by halves, Ford enlisted the musical talents of Queen guitarist and owner of possibly the most enviable permed mullet in history (it’s a thing) Brian May. The result? A stonking advert featuring the inimitable Ford Escort RS Cosworth, another hit for May and a slogan that is burned into our brains for all time.

 

9. The Power of Dreams: Honda

Honda steering wheel

Honda were clearly feeling all philosophical at the turn of the millennium when they adopted this inspirational slogan. Conceived from a comment made by founder and namesake Soichiro Honda, who stated “One must keep chasing one’s dreams”, Honda’s marketing team took what is essentially a regular cliché and made it their own.

The thinking behind the somewhat abstract tag line according to Honda is simple – the power of dreams drives them to create ‘intelligent products that enhance mobility and increase the joy in people’s lives'. Which is a pretty bold statement when you consider that for most of us, being in a car day to day is a fairly humdrum experience. There’s not much joy to be found in a traffic jam on the A303 after all…

In fairness to Honda, the statement elevates the brand image to one of everyday practicality spliced with luxury – which is spot on for a Honda driving experience, we think.

 

8. The Best 4x4 by Far: Land Rover

From the Defender to the Freelander, there’s no denying the practical and stylistic appeal of a Land Rover.

Loved by farmers, country dwellers and yummy mummies everywhere, Land Rovers are famed for their ability to get you from A to B whatever the terrain.

Driving snow? No problem. Chelsea in the middle of the school run? Easy. Even the British and Australian Armies have adopted them as vehicle of choice.

And therein lies the beauty of the famous tagline. It’s not only pleasingly rhythmic but is actually true. Simple but highly effective.

 

7. The Art of Performance: Jaguar

Jaguar logo

Following a damaging blip in their popularity in the 1970s, owing to a lack of manufacturing anything new, Jaguar upped their game in the 80s. Under new leadership, they proceeded to rebuild their reputation and increase sales.

Their tactic? A stroke of genius, frankly. Rather than spending a fortune developing new models without any real idea if they would regain ground, they tightened up their quality control and revamped their old models. The XJ and E-type had been hugely coveted in the 1960s for their sporty looks and handling – so what better way to rebrand than as cultural icons.

Jaguar drove the models firmly down the ‘heritage’ road – marketing them as works of art that held an important place in British motoring history – and it worked. Sales improved dramatically and by the 90s, automotive giant Ford bought them out for a cool £10 billion.

The simple yet incredibly perceptive tagline encapsulates the idea of Jaguar being both aesthetically and technologically superior in one sentence. Because if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

 

6. We are not supercars, we are Lamborghini: Lamborghini 

Lamborghini logo

When founder Ferruccio Elio Arturo Lamborghini complained to Enzo Ferrari about the dodgy clutch in his brand-new Ferrari, little did either of them know how the exchange would end. Ferrari, comfortable with his dominance in the supercar market, ignored Ferrucio. So, like all determined car enthusiasts with a few million Lira to throw around, he decided to set up his own luxury sportscar manufacturing business. As you do.

However, we all know what happened next and it’s safe to say he didn’t just succeed – he utterly smashed it. In fact, Lamborghinis are so popular that in 2021 alone, every single vehicle due to be produced for the year had sold…by June.

The Lamborghini brand is synonymous with affluence. From other, less luxurious manufacturers, the slogan may sound arrogant but, in this case, it’s just a simple statement of truth.

 

5. There is no substitute: Porsche

Porsche logo

Another gem from the elitist slogan generation machine, this beautifully self-confident statement is so spot on it’s almost funny. Long seen as the car of choice for anyone with a bit of nous and a true appreciation of all things vehicular, Porsche is the go-to luxury brand.

Anyone who has had the pleasure of driving a Porsche will attest to the superior driving experience and most agree that there really is no substitute…so we think Porsche have nailed it here.

4. It's a Skoda, Honest: Skoda

Skoda steering wheel

This is a feather in Skoda’s cap if ever we saw one. Introduced in the 1990s, when the Czech brand was bought out by Volkswagen, this tagline is almost solely responsible for turning around Skoda’s fortunes.

At the time, Skoda was notorious for being a dodgy budget brand – somewhat unfairly given that their build quality was actually very strong. But, along side Lada, the brand suffered at the hands of the 80s wave of consumerism. Nobody wanted cheap and cheerful back then and Skoda became a running joke.

When the Volkswagen intervened, tightening up quality control and launching the Felicia, they were confident that they had a great product because, well, they did. The challenge however, lay in changing the public perception and the tagline did exactly that.

By acknowledging their poor image, Skoda were suggesting that they were in on the joke. Even better, they were suggesting that anyone who went so far as to buy a Skoda was somehow one step ahead of the game.

You don’t need me to tell you how the story ended but just in case you’ve been living under a rock – it’s a happy ending!

 

3. The Ultimate Driving Machine: BMW

Possibly one of the most recognized slogans of any brand BMW captured the attention of generations with four simple words. First introduced in 1973 by Bob Lutz as part of BMW’s marketing campaign, the ‘ultimate driving machine’ moniker encapsulates everything that young drivers desired at the time.

The emerging motorists of the early 70s were the first generation born after the second world war and they wanted a brand that offered not just mobility but style and fuel efficiency too. BMW delivered on all fronts.

The slogan’s focus on driving experience was confident and fresh and as a result, truly resonated with consumers. In fact, it was so popular that it remained the centre behind BMW’s marketing campaign for decades to come and is still associated with the brand today, nearly fifty years later.

Which goes to show that sometimes, a little bit of self-belief goes a very long way.

 

2. Vorsprung durch Technik: Audi

Audi E-Tron steering wheel

In 1969, German manufacturers Auto Union GmBH and Neckarsulmer NSU Motorenwerke merged to become what we now know as vehicle powerhouse Audi. In the proceeding years, they have become one of the most trusted brands out there and one thing has endured: their tagline – ‘Vorsprung durch technik’.

Literally translating as ‘progress through technology’ the slogan originated from an old advertising poster on a factory wall in Inglostadt and was coined by Sir John Hegarty who said “I had no idea it would become popular. It said everything and nothing”.

Little did Audi realise that not only would it become one of the most quotable slogans ever but also one of the most enduring. ‘Vorsprung durch technik’ is still going strong some 51 years after it first made an appearance.

But why?

Well, in simple terms the concept of progress through technology perfectly befits a luxury brand like Audi. More than that though, at the time Hegarty enlisted the phrase, Germany was still trying to shake off the shadows of the Second World War – in Britain at least. By employing the clean, straightforward phrase and refusing to translate it; Audi were staying loyal to their roots, whilst also portraying their key selling points of efficiency, quality and progress.

Clearly it was effective because it stuck. Let’s be honest, how many brands can claim that sort of longevity? Come to think of it, how many brands can claim to have their slogan featured in a Blur song?

 

1. If only everything in life was as reliable as a Volkswagen: Volkswagen

Volkswagen steering wheel

Given that VW are behind some of the most successful vehicle brand relaunches ever, it’s only fitting that they steal the top spot. As slogans go, this may seem uninspiring at first glance but don’t be fooled. Volkswagens are, of course, loved for their reliability.

They are widely seen as the go to brand for first time drivers, families and anyone wanting style, affordability and safety as standard. Arguably their greatest strength though, is their timely marketing and understanding of their audience – as proven by their work with the Skoda relaunch – and this campaign is no different.

Launched in 1987, the slogan hit the market at a time when the UK was craving reliability. ‘AIDS’ dominated the news, Terry Waite went missing, Thatcher had been reelected and heavy snow and storms gripped the country. Questions were beginning to abound regarding the fairytale marriage of Charles and Diana, with the media scrutinizing their every move. Diana was a media darling and portrayed heavily as the victim of an unhappy union.

In a not-so-subtle move, VW launched their new slogan to the background of a television advert. Which featured a scorned woman, throwing her engagement ring, pearls, and fur coat away but keeping her Golf…and driving away from her fiancé into the sunset. The suggestion that all she needed was a good old Golf instead of the materialistic trappings of 80s consumerism resonated with many, including those who believed in the Diana/Cinderella comparisons.

But Volkswagen surpassed themselves and decided to cast actress Paula Hamilton – who at the time, bore an uncanny resemblance to Diana herself. A bold statement that paid dividends in terms of VW’s marketing prowess – and as far as we know, heads did not roll. We salute them!