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One in three UK motorists name their cars, according to Volkswagen-led survey on National Name Your Car Day

posted on 04/10/2023
One in three UK motorists name their cars, according to Volkswagen-led survey on National Name Your Car Day

One in three UK motorists have given a nickname to their car – based on its registration plate, colour, or the make and model.

And 34 per cent of nickname-givers go as far as to say cars without a light-hearted moniker are ‘missing something’.

Among the comical car nicknames British motorists have adopted include The Beast, The Flying Banana – and Flo – because its plate started with FL0.

The poll of 1,500 motorists found 32 per cent believe a car can have ‘a real personality’.

The research was commissioned by Volkswagen ahead of National Name Your Car Day on Monday 2 October, with further insight gained via a social media campaign. The manufacturer has arguably one of the most famous named cars of all time – a Beetle known as Herbie: The Love Bug.

The brand also revealed data of some of the most common names British VW owners use for their vehicles, including ‘Tiggy’ or ‘Tig’ for a Tiguan, and an ID.5 named Idris.
Many respondents took inspiration from TV or movies, with one naming their vehicle 'Gandalf the Grey Golf,' while another opted for 'Pamela Vanderson'.

Fiona Jones, Social Media Manager at Volkswagen UK, said: “Naming your car isn't just a tradition, it's a celebration of the bond you share – and it’s clear from all the feedback we’ve seen on our social media channels that Volkswagen owners really love their cars.

“Every car has a story and giving it a nickname somehow makes it more human. It’s a companion and a real part of the family. We’ve always known we have a strong fanbase, but it’s been particularly heart-warming to see so many stories coming through from owners during this project.”

The research found 31 per cent of nickname-givers will administer one to their car as soon as they get it. But 37 per cent will give it a few weeks and wait for inspiration to present itself as they get to know their new pride and joy.

More than six in 10 (65 per cent) even feel more protective of their vehicle, once they’ve given it a name to know it by, with 70 per cent admitting they often think back about old cars they owned in the past, and the quirky nicknames they had.

To give people inspiration for their own car names, Volkswagen has produced an Instagram filter at @VolkswagenUK that lets you scroll through a list of common nicknames until you find one that fits your motor.

Jones added: “Your car is more than just a machine; it's clear to see from how many car owners bestow a nickname on their car how dear to the nation’s hearts cars can become. So, if your four-wheeled friend doesn’t have a nickname yet, this checklist for inspiration could help you come up with one.”

Sue Smith, 49, from Porthcawl, South Wales is an avid nicknamer of cars. She commented: “Every car we've owned has had a name - my husband's car when we met was Emily the Escort, our daughter Emily is named after her.

“A G-plate 1.8l diesel automatic was named after my grandmother, Dorothy, as she had been her car - when we got our first Passat my husband kept calling her Dotty which we changed to Potty.

She continues: “I've always given my cars names and talked to them. It was always a dream to own a Beetle - they are classic cars and I've wanted one ever since watching the Herbie movies in the 70s.

“Kitty was my belated 40th birthday after a terrible year when our then two-year-old Tommy was diagnosed with cancer on his second birthday. After nearly a year of chemo and a major spinal op we felt we could celebrate at last and I ordered my dream car. Tommie insisted she was called Kitty, so I could hardly refuse.”

1The Mystery Mark
3The Flying Banana
7The Beast
8Kentucky Fried Ostrich
10Hotty Totty


1Its paint colour
2Its model/brand
3A celebrity
4A fictional character
5Its size
8Its license plate letters/numbers


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