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GoAuto Oddspot: Cars in the key of C

Why do so many automotive nameplates begin with the letter C?

15 Jan 2022

C is for cookie. If the Cookie Monster taught me anything that much is true. But C is also for car, and more precisely, a great number of car model names. In fact, I reckon there are more car model names beginning with the letter C than any other letter of the alphabet.


What it is that makes the letter C so ideal for naming a car I have no idea… 


Maybe it’s calming or maybe it’s a conscientious contrivance to coax consumers into a contract. Or could it be a conspiracy between car makers and constructors the world over? You know, an inside joke the rest of us aren’t in on. 


Whatever the case, I don’t think it’s a coincidence.


Now this list is by no means a complete catalogue of car names beginning with C. It’s simply a collection of contemplations conceived while chilling comfortably on the couch. If you can come up with anymore, we’d love to hear from you through our social media accounts.


Let’s begin with the most common ‘C’ car names sold locally over the past 50-odd years. 


Surely the Holden Commodore must top the list. The now-defunct Aussie brand also gave us the Captiva (shudder), the Calibra, the Cruze, the Caprice, the Combo, the Crewman, the Calais, the Cascada, the Colorado and the Camira. 


Though technically Monaros, I suppose you could also consider the CV6 and CV8, and let’s not forget the HSV Clubsport, Coupe4, and Crewman Cross6 and Cross8.


Staying local, and Toyota – who perhaps take the cake as far as C-branded cars are concerned – gave us the Camry, the Corolla, the Celica, the Corolla Cross, the Corona, the Cressida and the Crown. 


The Japanese giant also sells the Century, the C-HR, the Coaster, the Carina, the Celsior and the ‘Cruiser (okay, that last one might be a little cheeky).


Ford and Chrysler also gave C names a crack, the Cortina, Capri, Corsair, Consul, Courier, Charger, Centura, Crossfire and Chrysler by Chrysler all gracing Aussie showrooms at one time or another, and I guess you could also count the 300C. 


Chrysler also had a go at the C title in the US of A with models including the Concorde, Cirrus, Conquest, Cross Country and Cordoba with stablemates Dodge and RAM providing the (Durango-based) Citadel alongside the Caliber, Challenger, Charger, Caravan, Colt, Conquest, Crusader and Custom. 


Chrysler offshoot Plymouth also had the Concord badge (without an ‘e’), the Cranbrook, the Cricket, the Colt, the Champ, the Conquest, and the Cabana. 


Oh, and let’s not forget Jeep with the CJ, Cherokee, Compass, Commander, Comanche and Commando.


Ford also had a run of C-plated vehicles in it home market. The Crown Victoria performed policing duties in the Canada and the United States for decades, while the Contour, Cougar, Cobra, and (Lincoln) Continental also had their time in the sun.


Meanwhile, rival Chevrolet had the C10 pick-up truck, the legendary Corvette, the Camaro, the unsafe-at-any-speed Corvair, the Chevelle, Chevette, Citation, Corsica, Cobalt, Chevair, Cameo, Cassia, Cavalier and Celebrity (which shared its underpinnings with the Buick Century and Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser and Ciera). 


Cadillac gave us the CT4, CT5, CT6, CT6-V, CTS and CTS-V the Cimarron, the Calais, the Catera and the famous Coupe de Ville. Rambler had the Classic, Tesla has its Cybertruck, and who could forget the Checker Cab.


And of course, we can’t forget Honda. 


The world-famous Civic is still going strong after close to half a century, and the City nameplate is a not-too-distant memory. There was also the Clarity, the Concerto, the CR-V, the CR-X and the CR-Z – because three-letter acronyms are, you know, so cool right now.


Mazda also has a run of C-prefixed car names. 


The CX range of models includes the CX-3, CX-30, CX-4, CX-5, (upcoming) CX-50, CX-7, CX-8 and CX-9. The brand has also had the stunning rotary-powered Cosmo and ultra-cool Capella, as well as the kei-sized Carol in its home market of Japan.


From Daihatsu there was the much-loved Charade, the less-loved Cuore and convertible Copen. Mitsubishi had the Colt, the Cordia, the four-wheel drive Challenger and the Canter light truck, and Suzuki gave us the Carry, the Copen, the Cappuccino and the Celerio. 


Datsun had the Cherry and Nissan gave us the Cedric, Civilian, Cefiro, Cube, and kei-class Clipper. 


Lexus had the short-lived CT and Subaru has the Crosstrek, which is sold locally as the XV.


Kia has the Ceed, Credos and Carens (well, not here), the Cerato and the Carnival, and Hyundai has the i30-based Celesta in China – as well as its Asian market Casper, Creta, and Custo. 


Korean brand SsangYong had the Chairman (which was originally based on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class) and Daewoo had the forgettable Cielo.


There are plenty of European marques with a capital C badge on the boot lid, too. 


Mercedes-Benz of course has the C-Class and its numerous derivatives, BMW the CSL, Ford the CMAX, Skoda the Citigo, MINI the Cooper, Clubman, Coupe and Countryman, and Volkswagen the Caddy, California, Crafter, Country Buggy, Caribe, Citivan, CC and Caravelle.


SEAT had the Cupra and Cordoba, Renault the Clio and Captur, Smart had the Cabrio and City Coupe, and Rolls-Royce the Camargue, the Cullinan and Corniche.


Citroen also had quite the number of ‘C’ branded models inlcuding the C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, C8, CX and C-Crosser. Opel has the Corsa, Cascada, Crossland, Chevette, Calibra and Combo, Porsche the Cayman, Cayenne and Carrera, and Bentley the glorious Continental.


Volvo gave us the C30, C40 and C70 and SAAB at one point had the Catherina. Land Rover had the Defender-based County, Fiat the Cinquecento, Cronos and Croma, and I suppose you could add the Alfa Romeo 4C and 8C (alright, that’s stretching it).


The high-end sports car market also has a few famous C names. 


Ferrari had the California and Competizione, of course, and Lamborghini the Countach and Centenario. Koenigsegg gave us the CC and the CCR and the CCX (and quite a few others), Maserati the Carrozzeria, Jensen the CV-8, TVR had the Chimaera and the Cerbera, and Aston Martin had the Cygnet (that’s a joke).


I’m sure there’s plenty of others and invite you to visit our Facebook page @GoAuto.com.au to join the conversation.


We look forward to hearing from you.

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