What Is The Difference Between a Vehicle’s Make vs. Model


Understanding the difference between the make and model of a car is more than just semantics; it’s crucial for making informed buying decisions. The make refers to the brand, while the model represents the specific vehicle within that brand. For example, Chevrolet is a make, while the Equinox is a model. Knowing the make and model helps car buyers navigate the automotive landscape and understand the unique features and characteristics of each vehicle. It also impacts compatibility, resale value, insurance rates, and brand reputation.

Are you considering buying a new car? If so, you’ve probably come across the terms “make” and “model” during your research. But do you really understand the difference between the two? It’s more than just a matter of semantics; it’s a fundamental aspect of car identification that can greatly impact your buying decisions. So let’s dive into the world of car terminology and unravel the significance of distinguishing between the make and model.

What is the make of a car?

The “make” of a car refers to the brand name, such as Chevrolet, Lexus, or Lincoln. Each make of a car comes in a variety of models — e.g., the Chevrolet Equinox, the Lexus RX, or the Lincoln Navigator.

While some makes share a name with their manufacturer (such as Ford, Honda, and Toyota), it’s important to note that these manufacturers often have multiple brands under their umbrella. For instance, Ford encompasses the Lincoln brand, Honda has Acura, and Toyota has Lexus. This allows manufacturers to cater to different market segments and offer a diverse range of vehicles to meet varying customer preferences and needs.

What is the model of a car?

The “model” of a car is not just a random name or a fancy label; it represents a specific version or variation within a particular make, encapsulating unique features and characteristics that define the vehicle. Picture it as the DNA of the car, revealing its size, body style, engine type, and trim level.

As you embark on your car shopping journey, the model becomes an essential factor to consider. It provides valuable insights into what you can expect from the vehicle, offering a glimpse into its personality and capabilities. For instance, take the renowned Toyota make — within it, you’ll find a diverse range of models, like the Camry, RAV4, and Corolla, each with its own distinctive qualities.

Delving deeper into the Toyota family, the Camry emerges as a prominent model. It represents a mid-size sedan renowned for its comfort, reliability, and versatility. With various engine options and trim levels available, the Camry caters to different preferences and budgets. On the other hand, the Toyota RAV4 takes on the role of a compact SUV, delivering a blend of practicality, off-road prowess, and fuel efficiency, all customizable through different engine options and trim levels.

The significance of car models lies not only in their unique attributes but also in their impact on pricing. Within a make, different models can span a wide range of price points, driven by the features and options they offer. A base model Camry, for instance, may present an affordable entry point into the world of Toyota, while a fully loaded Camry with luxurious amenities will come with a higher price tag. Understanding the model variations within a make empowers you to align your budget and preferences more precisely.

Why is the make and model of your vehicle important?

The distinction between the make and model of a car holds crucial insights that can influence your car ownership experience in various ways. Let’s explore the importance of discerning the make and model and what it means for compatibility, resale value, insurance rates, and brand reputation.


Knowing the make and model of a car is essential when seeking compatible parts and accessories. While two cars may be from the same manufacturer, like a Toyota Camry and a Toyota RAV4, their unique models often require specific components designed to fit their distinct features. Avoid the frustration of mismatched accessories by ensuring compatibility with the precise make and model of your vehicle.

Resale value

Understanding the resale value of a particular make and model is vital when buying or selling a car. Some makes and models have a reputation for holding their value well over time, while others may experience more significant depreciation. Being aware of these trends empowers you to make informed decisions and maximize the return on your automotive investment.

Insurance rates

The make and model of a car can significantly impact insurance rates. Factors such as safety records, repair costs, and overall risk profiles associated with specific makes and models influence insurance premiums. Being aware of these distinctions allows you to anticipate potential cost variations and select the most suitable insurance coverage for your vehicle.

Brand reputation

The make of a car often carries the weight of a brand’s reputation. Some manufacturers have established themselves as producers of high-quality, reliable vehicles, while others may struggle with a tarnished image. Understanding a particular make’s prominence gives you insights into what you can expect from the car in terms of performance, reliability, and overall satisfaction. Additionally, staying informed about recalls specific to certain models helps you assess a brand’s commitment to addressing potential issues promptly.


Is Ford a make or model?

Ford is an example of a make. It refers to the distinguished manufacturer known for producing a wide range of vehicles. Conversely, Mustang would represent a specific model under the Ford brand. Other examples of Ford models include the Ford F-150, Ford Explorer, Ford Focus, and Ford Ranger.

Why is it called “car make”?

The term “car make” refers to the brand or manufacturer responsible for designing and crafting a vehicle — i.e., the company that makes the car. Each make (or brand) possesses its own unique attributes, reputation, and lineup of vehicles. By understanding the make of a car, consumers and industry experts can effectively discern the origin, quality, and brand image associated with a particular vehicle.

What is a car model number?

A car model number refers to a unique alphanumeric code assigned to a specific vehicle model by its manufacturer. It serves as a distinct identifier for a particular variant or edition of a car within a manufacturer’s lineup. The model number helps differentiate various versions of a car model that may have different features, trims, engine options, or design elements. It allows manufacturers, dealerships, and consumers to accurately reference and communicate about a specific configuration or iteration of a car. Car model numbers are typically used in the documentation, marketing materials, and discussions to ensure clarity and precision when referring to a particular vehicle model.

Key takeaways

  • The “make” of a car refers to the brand name, while the “model” represents the specific vehicle within that brand.
  • Manufacturers often have multiple brands under their umbrella, so the make of a car may not always align with the manufacturer.
  • The model of a car is a specific version or variation within a make, revealing its size, body style, engine type, and trim level.
  • Understanding the make and model is important when seeking compatible parts and accessories for your car.
  • The resale value of a car can vary depending on its make and model, and knowing this information can help maximize your investment.
  • The make and model of a car can also impact insurance rates, as factors like safety records and repair costs are associated with specific makes and models.
View Article Sources
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