Why Do We Give Names To Our Cars?

Our oldest daughter recently graduated college from the University of Georgia.  When she turned 16, we were fortunate enough to buy a beat up 2009 Hyundai Tucson from my mother and that’s pretty much what my daughter has driven since she became a driver.  As we finally made a change for her to get a new car (we stuck with Hyundai), my daughter told me how sad she was to see Sage go.  I thought to myself, “What in the world is a Sage?” so I asked my daughter.  Unbeknownst to me, my daughter had a name for her car and already had a name ready to go for the new car.  I’ve heard people give their cars names before, but always wondered when did this start becoming a common practice?

Apparently, naming cars isn’t a new tradition at all.  For centuries before us, human beings have been giving names to vehicles and boats for centuries.  Think about shows like the Sopranos where you see The Stugats boat name, or when I grew up there was a famous movie called Herbie The Love Bug that popularized Volkswagen Beetle.  Some people name their cars by how it makes them feel inside and some people name them for the exterior that people see.  Either way, we have some sort of love affair for naming our cars.

Is naming your car a true sign that you’re close to saying you have imaginary friends?  Of course, you probably do talk to your car like I do….but I only do it when I have supreme road rage from people driving 55 in the fast lane.  In fact, talking to your car and naming your car is surprisingly common, and most of you probably know at least one person who has done it and the why behind the name.  In fact, most of us see some sort of face or identity in the car we drive and who it may become, and thus why we give them a certain name. 

Sometimes cars may be our only friend on a long rainy three-hour drive or while we change a flat tire on a busy interstate highway.  Cars can often give us the muscle or power that we so wildly want to express, or they can give us the freedom to let our hair blow back in the wind and dream like we’re a teenager again.  Can you remember saying, “my car doesn’t like this weather,” or “(s)he doesn’t drive well on this type of road?”

So, how do you choose your car’s name?  I don’t recommend the game where you mix the last cocktail you drank and the last name of a porn star – that won’t work out well.  I highly recommend driving your car for a month or two so you can get a feel for who that car really is and how it makes you feel.  Step on the gas and see how fast it does zero to sixty.  Accelerate past another car on the highway and listen to what your car tells you.  Or, just let it purr in your garage and think about what it is saying.  Does it look like a Reggie? Or Becky? Or a Misty?  What are the qualities of the outside body, the interior, and how it performs?

Not every name starts out great.  Think about BMW…BMW started its operation in 1912 and was formed with the merger of 3 German companies.  The company’s name stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, which means Bavarian Motor Works in German.  Hence, the nickname BMW.

Normally, we talk about money, but I’ve written a lot of articles on buying, selling, leasing, and renting cars.  This Sunday, I’ll pull a page out of the books of Andy Rooney and say maybe you should spend an hour or two and head out to the garage to name your car.  It might just talk back to you.

About the author  ⁄ Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves

Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves


My friends and family all think I’m a workaholic, but I say I’m just a guy that loves to help people do better in life.

My mother is still the only one that calls me by my real name Theodore Michael, my wife calls me Teddy, but for the rest of you it is just plain old Ted.

Ever since I was a little kid, I always loved money and being an entrepreneur. In fact, I still have cassette tapes of me talking to my grandmother at the age of five and my mother tells me all the time how much I played with money as a kid...

Read More About Ted Here

Ted Jenkin is a frequent guest columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Headline News Weekend Express. He is the co-CEO of oXYGen Financial. You can follow him on LinkedIn @ www.linkedin.com/in/theceoadvisor or on Twitter @tedjenkin.

Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by Kestra Investment Services, LLC or Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. This is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor regarding your individual situation. 

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