What is a Vehicle Make and Model?

6 October 20203 min read

The term “make and model” is used widely in the car industry but it comes with a lot of assumed knowledge and not everyone knows what it means.

In essence, the word “make” is shorthand for the name of the vehicle manufacturer (the brand that “made” the vehicle), and “model” is the particular type of car made by that manufacturer.

Examples of manufacturers include Toyota, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Hyundai, Kia, Volkswagen, Mitsubishi, and Nissan. In Australia, more than 60 automotive brands are represented, which combined sell more than 500 models.

It’s a vast choice and for this reason Australia is one of the most competitive new-car markets globally.


The manufacturer and model name of each vehicle are listed on registration and insurance documents.

The model refers to the specific type of car and is usually signified by an external badge on the rear of the vehicle.

Examples of makes and models are Toyota and Corolla, Hyundai and iLoad, and Ford and Ranger.

On registration and insurance paperwork the make would be listed as Toyota and the model would be listed as Corolla.

In the other examples listed, Hyundai would be nominated as the make and iLoad would be shown as the model. And Ford would be the make and Ranger would be the model.

Referring to a vehicle’s “make and model” gives authorities, buyers, sellers – and those in the car trade – a shorthand way of describing the vehicle they are dealing with.


However, there are other identifiers beyond the make and model of a car.

For example there is more than one type of Toyota Corolla, Hyundai iLoad, or Ford Ranger. Indeed, there is more than one “make and model” of most cars sold in Australia.

Once the make and model have been identified, further details are required to pinpoint the exact vehicle.

In the case of the Toyota Corolla there is the choice of hatchback or sedan body styles, and petrol or hybrid power.

Within those choices there are also four model grades – or levels of equipment – each with their own names.

Which is why you may see a description such as Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid hatch.

Toyota Corolla is the make and model, the wording “Ascent Sport” is the model grade (an indicator of standard equipment), hybrid reveals what engine is under the bonnet, and hatch or hatchback describes the body style. You can read more about vehicle type and body style here.

There are more than two dozen versions of the Ford Ranger ute. Beyond the make and model, it may be pertinent to know the model grade (XL, XLT, Wildtrak or Raptor), what engine is under the bonnet, and whether the vehicle is fitted with a ute tub or is a cab-chassis (a cabin with no tray on the back).

In essence, a vehicle’s make and model are the two most important elements to understand and identify. Further information such as the model variant and engine can also be easily found but are usually only critical when it comes to registration and insurance – and when buying and selling a vehicle.