Cars take us to work every day, squeeze all of our belongings in when we move house, put up with our taste in music, and protect us rain, hail or shine. When we spend so much time with our car, it's hard not to think of them as a trusty friend with their own personality. What better way to express that bond than giving them a name or adorning them with a personalised plate.
Naming our car is as much about the car as it is about the owner. “Baby”, “Elektra”, “Little Miss Sunshine”, “Lightning”, “Beast”. The name in many ways tells the world who we are, reflecting our personality and our relationship with the car (sometimes even our driving style).
With headlights that look like eyes and a grille that seems ready to growl or smile, it’s hard not to see the face and personality in a car. In fact, the personality expressed in a vehicle’s ‘face’ is often a huge reason why we choose to purchase one car over another.
Giving our cars names can actually make us feel safer too as it humanises them and gives us a sense of control over them. In fact, recent research around driverless cars has shown that when the car has been given a name, voice and gender, the more people trust it to operate competently.
Overseas research has shown that approximately 55% of Americans have named their car, and they prefer ‘people’ names. Even celebrities have shared their fun car names – David Beckham named his Jeep “Jeepers Creepers”, Beyoncé named her Jaguar “Honeybee”, and Paris Hilton named her pink Bentley “Lady Penelope” as a nod to the 1960’s TV show ‘Thunderbirds’. Naming your car has become so common that there’s even a day dedicated to it, Name Your Car Day on October 2!
In New Zealand, Betty and Betsy are the most popular names, and these two are also some of the most common car names across the US and UK. However, if Betty or Betsy doesn’t feel like the best fit for your ride, now’s the time to get creative!
So how do you choose the perfect name for your car?
If you find yourself wondering "What should I name my car?" here are some helpful tips to get you started:
Find Your Inspiration
Decide if your car is male, female or gender neutral
When you think of your car, does it radiate elegance, bubble with effervescence, or rumble like a tank? Everything from a car’s shape and size to its presence and the amount of noise it makes can make it seem like the characteristics of a particular gender. Or does your car have a made-for-anybody vibe?
Consider the car’s make and model
If you are a person who likes rhymes and puns, you can use the make and model as inspiration for a fun and quirky name for your car. We’ve included a few below
- Suzie the Suzuki
- Hemi the "Jimny"
- Taylor “Swift”
Consider a name that reflects you too!
If you are the kind of driver who likes to cruise, you don’t want to name your car “Speedy” or “Roadrunner”. If you are quiet and thoughtful, think of a more laidback name. If you are an extrovert, a quirkier and more out there name will be more suitable.
Use letters from your license plate
What name do the letters in your number plate remind you of? For instance, if the letters are LKY, you might want to call it “Lucky”. MDN could be “Madonna” or “Maiden” or “Mad Ninja”. Or you can treat the letters like an acronym, DFT could be "Dad's Fast Taxi" or “Damn Fine Truck”. Plus, it’s also an easy way to remember your license plate.
Factor in the colour of the car
The colour of your car can be an easy jumping off point for ideas. Got a green car, the name "Kermit" is the most popular, or you could try “Hulk”, “Green Machine”, or “Olive Oyl”
If your car is black, maybe it reminds you of the "Batmobile" or "Knight Rider" or yellow, “Goldie” or “Bumble Bee”.
Red cars suit fun names like "Ladybug" or "Cherry Bomb" or sassy ones like “Scarlet”, “Foxy” or “Diablo”.
While silver cars could be called “Bullet” and “Tron”, white ones “Ghost”, “Elsa” or “Snowy”, and blue ones “Smurfette” or “Thunder”.
Go for a fictional character
Think about names of characters from your favourite movies, TV shows, books or video games. For example; Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Ru Paul’s Drag Race, Marvel and DC Superheros and Villains, and Pokémon. These all have strong and often unusual names that could be just the right fit for your car.
Consider a celebrity name
Another option is to look at inspiring real life people or role models.
There are musicians like “Che Fu”, “Marlon”, “Kimbra”, “Benee”, or “Katchafire” (hmmm…maybe not this one).
Those in the TV, theatre and movie industry such as “Taika Waititi”, “Pax Assadi”, “Rhys Darby”, “Lucy Lawless” or “Rose Matefeo”.
If you have a favourite sport or athlete, this may be the perfect time to show your allegiance with “Laumape”, “Valerie”, “Ameliaranne”, or “Bolt”.
Or try past and present leaders in their fields such as “Dame Whina”, “Rutherford”, or “Richie”.
Add a prefix like “Mr”, “Princess” or “The”
One way to give a car more personality is to start its name with a humanising title – “Matua Motokā, “Miss Pinkie” or “The Chopper”. If your car exudes a sense of extra importance, try “Sir Speeds-a-lot”, “Queen V” or “The Countess”.
Go crazy with roller derby
Take it one step further and delve into the full-on sport of roller derby. There you will find plenty of amped-up player and team names like “Hissin’ Kitten”, “Jelly Roll”, “Big Rig”, or “Infernal Myrtle”.
Ask your family and friends
Try asking others for their ideas. People who know you well can throw some truly imaginative names out there for you to consider.
If you have a couple of names in mind and are having trouble choosing the right one, get your family or friends to vote on your social channels.
This is what Suzuki brand ambassador Lexie Brown did to choose a name for her new Jimny, here!
Use a Random Name Generator
If you’ve decided you need a name for your car but nothing comes to mind, head to the internet and give a random car name generator a go. You might land on something you love with a click of a button! Here are some suggestions for name generators to get you started:
Is your car a character? Try this character name generator
For fantasy fans: Fantasy Name Generator
Or try taking a quiz to decide: What should you name your car quiz
There’s really no rush to coming up with names for your car, and it can take a while to get to know its personality. One day, you could be sitting in traffic and the perfect name just pops into your head and it will stick like glue. Or perhaps you already have the name figured out, and you just need the new car to go with it. Get started by checking out our complete guide to buying a new car.