What Are the Make and Model of a Car?

2020 Kia Telluride

The “make” of a car is its brand, such as Chevrolet, Lexus or Lincoln, and the model is the name of a specific vehicle of a brand, such as the Chevrolet Equinox, Lexus RX or Lincoln Navigator.

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Some make names are the same as the manufacturer name, such as Ford, Honda and Toyota, though all those manufacturers also have other brands.

The make is not always the same as the manufacturer of a vehicle, because many manufacturers have more than one brand. For example, Ford owns the Lincoln brand; Honda has Acura; and Toyota has Lexus.

GM manufactures four brands or makes: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC. Globally, Volkswagen manufactures eight different car makes: Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, SEAT, Skoda and Volkswagen.

And then there’s Mazda, which abandoned traditional model names for its sedans several years ago and instead dubbed them Mazda3 and Mazda6. That means that officially — such as on a DMV registration form — the make is “Mazda,” and the model name is, for example, “Mazda3” or “Mazda6.” (Ask an owner what car they drive, though, and the answer is likely to be just the model name.)

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Model names can encompass more than one body style. Over the years, for example, the Honda Accord and Civic have been available as sedans, coupes, hatchbacks and wagons.

Within model lines there also is a hierarchy of trim levels based on standard features and price. The LX is the cheapest and most modestly equipped Civic trim level, for example. The amount of standard equipment and the prices escalate incrementally as you move higher through the Sport, EX, EX-L, Touring and Sport Touring versions.

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