Automotive trim nomenclature

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Automotive trim nomenclature is loosely identified with alphanumeric lettering on various exterior locations on automobiles manufactured internationally. Some of the commonly used designations are DX, LX, LS, EX, GL, SE, GT just to name a few. The exterior coding helps identify at what level the identified vehicle is equipped. Some of the more basic lettering used is DX, while luxuriously equipped vehicles can be seen with LS, GT, or SE.

The alphanumeric coding began to appear on Japanese and European vehicles beginning in the mid 1970s, while North American vehicles used names for vehicles, such as Mustang, Torino, Impala, Chevelle, Barracuda, and Imperial. North American vehicles that were specially equipped did use special alphanumeric coding for exclusive vehicles like the "SS" designation on Chevrolet products, and Ford used the "GT" term on the high performance version of their products. GM did begin using alphanumeric coding to denote special handling packages installed on performance vehicles, such as "Z28" on the Camaro, the Buick GS, or the Oldsmobile 442, and currently uses the designation "Z71" on the Suburban and Tahoe. Toyota also uses this naming convention on the SR5.

During the 1970s and 1980s, some manufacturers used a word to denote a luxury level of equipment installed in large sedans, such as the word "Brougham" used by Cadillac Brougham, the Holden Brougham, and on the top level Nissan Cedric/Nissan Gloria.

A variation was used on numerous vehicles where the alphanumeric combination described the vehicle, such as the Mercedes-Benz 500SL. The letters "SL" represented "S-class", which is the anglicized version of "S-Klasse," a German abbreviation of "Sonderklasse," which means "special class" (in the sense of "a class of its own"). The "L" represented extended length. Later, Mercedes-Benz added an "E" to the designation "SEL" to signify that the car was installed with fuel injection, with the "E" standing for the German word "Einspritzung". The number 500 represented the engines displacement of five liters.

Another variation was used to identify various types of engine performance or technological advancements added to specially equipped vehicles. In the mid-1970s, Japanese automotive manufacturers introduced emission control technology, and used letter combinations to visually identify vehicles equipped. Some examples are Honda's CVCC, Toyota's TTC, Nissan's NAPS, and Mitsubishi's MCA. More recently, manufacturers have started using the term "hybrid" on vehicles installed with the powertrain combination.

During the mid-1980s a widely used designation was "EFI" for "electronic fuel injection" which appeared internationally, with a select few manufacturers using the lowercase letter "i" for "injection". More recently the designation "TDI" for "Turbo Diesel Injection", or "GDI" for "Gasoline Direct Injection" have appeared.

Safety equipment is also identified with letter combinations, such as "ABS" for "anti-locking brakes", or "ESC" for "electronic stability control".

Table of various definitions[edit]

The following is a list of badge designations and a list of definitions that are commonly used by all automobile manufacturers internationally. A particular badge nomenclature can have various definitions and is widely used based on the intent of the manufacturer, and as such, are not standardized across the industry.

The badges can be used to identify a specific trim package for a particular car model (Ford Falcon GL), or can be used as the model name (Lexus LS, Citroën DS).

badge definition(s)
L base
DX deluxe
LX luxury
CE classic edition, custom edition
LE luxury edition
DL deluxe
GL grade level
GLE grade level extra
LS luxury sport, luxury special, luxury standard, luxury sedan, luxury saloon
EX extra
FL fleet
SE sport edition, special edition, special equipment
SL standard level
SLE standard level extra
SLT standard level touring
SV special version
LT luxury touring
LTD Limited
LTZ luxury touring special
GT gran turismo, grand touring
XLT extra level touring

See also[edit]