When an automaker is naming a new model, they often spend a fair amount of effort coming up with an engaging name for it. Some are named after notable people, some named after popular places, some named from old Greek or Latin words or some even a play of words, however most of the cars especially performance vehicles are often named after animals.
For example Dodge Viper named after the venomous snake, Ford Mustang after the nimble horse of the wild and Chevrolet Bison pickup truck named after the largest surviving terrestrial animal. There are plenty of other examples where popular cars are named after animals such as Dodge Ram, Mitsubishi Colt, Volkswagen Rabbit, Fiat Panda, Chevrolet Impala, Datsun Bluebird, Mazda Bongo, Shelby Cobra, VW Beetle, Mercury Cougar, AMC Marlin, Buick Skylark and Plymouth Barracuda to name a few.
Various popular cars named after animals
In addition, certain animal names were shared by various automakers for their specific variants, for example Spider name was used by Alfa Romeo, McLaren, Ferrari as well as Fiat. Plus renowned British automobile marque Jaguar is also named after an animal. Unfortunately, nowadays automakers are moving away from naming their new cars with animal names in favor of more boring and ambiguous options featuring jumbled letters, numbers and even hyphens.
However there is a good news if you are someone who love animal car names, since Chinese have been naming their new models after animals lately, but perhaps they won’t be too exciting & the names might not sound that cool as much as the above mentioned examples. Let us have a look at some of the recent lot of Chinese cars named after animals which are rather unknown for people in our part of the world.
Although the Panda name was used by Fiat, Chinese automaker Geely used the Panda name for their small hatchback that was launched in 2010. But it wasn’t just a name since the Geely Panda was specifically designed to look like a Panda, as the animal has special place in the hearts of Chinese. Even the key-fob was designed to mimic the Panda face. However the car was discontinued after a few years and is no longer in production today.
Geely China Dragon
Geely China Dragon
In its early days of vehicle development, Geely also produced the China Dragon or simply Geely CD in short. It was designed to look like a sports car but in fact had ordinary 1.3L and 1.5L engine options with very basic power output. The car also had nostrils just like a dragon but in terms of sales, was not able to perform fiercely like a dragon and was soon discontinued by the company.
Brilliance/ BYD Dolphin
The Dolphin name was used by two Chinese automakers. Brilliance Auto used Dolphin name to market their hatchback around year 2015 however few years later the car was discontinued. But today, BYD Auto uses Dolphin name for their funky EV which is considered among the most affordable small electric cars in China. The Dolphin is also marketed as BYD EA1.
Chery Ant and Little Ant
Chery Ant and Little Ant EV
The Ant name is used by Chery for its range of new energy vehicles. Built on modular LIFE platform, the Chery Ant is the first vehicle in the brand’s lineup to sit on an all-aluminum frame body & boasts Level-2 driver assistance functions in addition to a number of other features. There is also a mini EV called the Little Ant which is a 2-seat electric vehicle.
GWM ORA Cat
ORA is an electric vehicle sub-brand under Great Wall Motor’s umbrella. There is a good range of ORA EVs with cat names such as the Good Cat, Punk Cat, Lightning Cat and Big Cat. The vehicles are not just restricted to China but have started to reach other parts of the world including UK, Europe & Thailand which are Right Hand Drive markets. Among these, the ORA Punk cat has a striking resemblance with iconic VW Beetle, plus these is another version of the Punk Cat called Ballet Cat which is specifically aimed towards female car buyers, as well as a beefed-up variant called Good Cat GT.
The ORA Cat family- Good Cat, Good Cat GT, Punk Cat, Ballet Cat, Big Cat & Lightning Cat
Haval is another sub-brand of Great Wall Motos which deals purely in crossover and SUVs. In 2020 it launched the Dàgǒu (Chinese name), which means “Big Dog.” According to information, the name was chosen by the Chinese public in a poll written out by Haval. The company has revealed another funky version called X Dog which is set to go on sale in Chinese market soon. The Big Dog has already started to reach various export markets including Saudi Arabia where its being marketed as Haval Dargo.
Haval Big Dog & X Dog
A computer animation professional with over 23 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations, TV channels & production facilities in Pakistan. An avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver quality content to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com