''Obviously, Mid-Childan society has a lot of respect for UA97's auto industry. Why would they call their children like this otherwise?"
—forum post regarding ViVid Strike! (and by extension the entire Lyrical Nanoha franchise)
Vehicular Theme Naming is the practise of naming characters after vehicles. Cars and water craft seem to be represented more than planes or trains. Strangely common in Japan, for some reason.
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Anime and Manga
- The natives of Cephiro and their magic spells in Magic Knight Rayearth are named after models of cars (like Cephiro itself).
- Likewise, many of the magical beings in Lyrical Nanoha are named after cars: the Opel Signum, Opel Vita, Opel Zafira and Maserati Shamal are the most prominent and were brought to attention by the fansubbers. Subaru Nakajima's name appears to be normal Japanese, but the fact that it's in Western format draws attention to the fact that both her names come from cars—same company as well, since Subaru's predecessor was Nakajima Aircraft Company. Same with Fate Testarossa (Ferrari Testarossa) and her mother Precia (Nissan Presea, also seen in Rayearth), and Yuuno Scrya has been suspected of actually being spelled Euno for Mazda Eunos. Given that, like Rayearth, Nanoha is primarily about Magical Girls who use techno-magical artifacts, this may be a direct homage to the earlier series. Teana Lanster is also named after the Nissan Teana. Lutecia and Megane Alpine get their surname from a French car (Renault Megane; and the sportscar manufacturer Alpine, assimilated by Renault).
- Interestingly, the Maserati Shamal itself is an example of Theme Naming. In addition to Shamal, some of Maserati's other model names have been Mistral, Ghibli, Bora, Khamsin, and Karif. All of these are named after local winds, except for Ghibli, which is a word meaning "hot desert wind". (On a related note, Shamal's device is named Klarer Wind, and Hayate's name means "breeze".)
- Neon Genesis Evangelion is filled with people named after Japanese warships from WWII. In addition, the Horaki sisters are named after three train services of Japan's first bullet train line, the Tokaido Shinkansen: The Hikari service was the original, followed by the slower Kodama, and then by the much faster Nozomi. This appears to point to a convention to the theme naming: older=slower, younger=faster.
- In the remake, Asuka's surname is changed from Soryu to Shikinami, to reflect the now-changed background of the character. As per Word of God, Rei, Asuka and Mari are all named after the postwar Ayanami-class destroyers rather than their World War Two Fubuki-class namesakes (and the aircraft carrier Soryu, in Asuka's case).
- Similarly to Evangelion, many military characters in 07-Ghost have names from WW2 Japanese warships: Ayanami, Hyuuga and Katsuragi in the manga, and Yukikaze in one drama CD.
- Mikasa from Attack on Titan is named after an Imperial Japanese Battleship that served during the Russo-Japan War. It helps that Mikasa hits like a battleship. Also worth noting is that the battleship Mikasa is the only surviving pre-dreadnought (that is, battleships built before the introduction of the revolutionary HMS Dreadnought) battleship (every other pre-dreadnought battleship was either scrapped or sunk).
- Most of the military characters from Fullmetal Alchemist are named after aircraft or vehicles, whether WW2 era or present-day: Mustang, Hughes, Bradley, Hawkeye, Hayate, etc.
- The original Mobile Suit Gundam has several members of the White Base crew derive their names from WWII-era fighter planes; Amuro Ray comes from the Mitsubishi A6M Zero (A6M in Japanese is "A-Roku-Mu", and "zero" is "Rei"); Kai Shiden from the Kawanishi N1K2-J Shiden Kai, and so forth. A few post-war planes are referenced as well. M'Quve's second in command, Uragang, is named for the Dassault Ouragan, first fielded in the early years of the Arab–Israeli Conflict.
- A few subsequent series continue this tradition as well. Mashymyre's aide-de-camp, Gordon Goh, is named for the Horten Ho/Gotha Go 229 prototype jet fighter-bomber.
- The Saberdolls from Saber Marionette J are named after German tanks from World War II (Tiger, Luchs, and Panther.) This also qualifies them for Animal Theme Naming.
- Rurouni Kenshin - Toy Ship members Yahiko and Tsubame are theme named based on a train line.
- Freezing: The Valkyries' last names are Evora, Ferrari, Porsche, Renault, and (Ouka) Honda.
- Porco Rosso's Gina is named after the nickname of the Fiat G-91 fighter (designated the Ghibli), while Yankee rival Curtis is dubbed in honor of the American Curtiss aircraft company (and maybe Curtis LeMay). Miyazaki really likes planes, Italy and The '30s.
- Most of the characters from the Coffin Princess Chaika are named after various cars and automakers: Gaz Empire, its titular princess Chaika Ga..akhem.. Trabant, Acura siblings, count Abarth, etc.
- The Princes from Lady Jewelpet: (Porsche) Cayenne, (Alfa) Romeo, (Toyota) Soarer, (Toyota) Levin and (Lamborghini) Miura.
- Peace Forged in Fire: Several of the Romulan ships are named after the Generation Ships that took the Romulans to Romulus in The Romulan Way. Among them are the three leads' ships—D'trel's Kholhr (Vengeance), Morgan's Aen'rhien (Bloodwing), and Velal's Eyhon Eludet'eri (Lost Road)—as well as the Red Shirt ships Delevhas (Shield) and Eyiv s'Rea (Rea's Helm).
- Reimagined Enterprise: The NX-class ships are named after space shuttles. (See Star Trek: Enterprise Relaunch below).
- One of the members of the Kamikaze team in DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story is named Suzuki Toyota Oshinawa. Presumably, given how Japanese names work, it's probably not his birth name.
- Ford Prefect in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, whose name came from his mistakenly thinking that cars were the dominant lifeform on Earth when he first arrived. Becomes a theme with the introduction of Hillman Hunter in And Another Thing....
- Stephen Fry wrote a novel and realized only halfway through planning it that his idea was basically The Count of Monte Cristo. He made it an intentional Whole-Plot Reference with Meaningful Names of one sort or another for the characters; Mercedes's counterpart is called Portia.
- Star Trek: Enterprise Relaunch continues the trend of NX-class ships bearing the names of space shuttles (the ones seen in the show itself were called Enterprise and Columbia, just like the first two space shuttles).
- In Captain French, or the Quest for Paradise, it's not uncommon for people on Solaris to be named after 20th century cars, such as Dodson Chrysler Sarmishkidu and Benz Fiat Shalmunazar. A bit strange, considering the events take place 20,000 years from now.
- Douglas and Martin in Cabin Pressure seem to get their names from McDonnell-Douglas and Lockheed-Martin, respectively. (Their plane is said to be a "Lockheed-McDonnell".) Hercules, meanwhile, is named after the military plane in-universe, and has brothers called Wellington and Harrier.
- The succubi from the Hentai game and anime Viper GTS are named after cars: Carrera, Mercedes, and Rati (as in Maserati).
- Hell, even the title is also named after a car (Dodge's).
- Dankira!!! -Boys, be DANCING!-: Black Meteor Camp dancers have two theme naming schemes, one of them is after ships: Ginko Habashiri (Ichōnomaru, a sunken ship), Rentarō Atago (three IJN battleships), and Kento Tsubaki (two IJN battleships and a ferry). Ginko's pet fox Vega is also named after USS Vega ships.
- Irvine's guns in Final Fantasy VIII are named after famous warships: Valiant, Ulysses, Bismarck, and Exeter.
- Snow Villiers is named after a French motorcycle manufacturer, hence the appearance of his summon.
- Conway's Game of Life has the still lifes "boat", "ship", and "barge".
- The Four Devas in Ogre Battle are named after cars - Debonair, Figaro, Previa, and Lebaron, although Lebaron's name was changed to Luvalon in the English version.
- Pirates in the X-Universe series name their flying-scrapyard capital ships after Age of Sail ship classes - Brigantine, Galleon, Carrack, and Caravel.
- The first Azure Striker Gunvolt game has villains who are named after vehicles, such as Merak (Maserati Merak), or car-related terms, such as Daytona (Daytona racing).
- Most of the TSFs mechs in Muv-Luv Alternative (with the exceptions of later Japanese models) are named after real-life American, European, Russian and Chinese fighter aircraft (F-15, Typhoon, Su-27 and J-10 etc.) and even sharing their general characteristics and combat roles.
- In the Walkyverse, we have Ultra-Car, who probably shouldn't count since s/he was, originally, an actual car. However, in the Alternate Universe Spin-Off Dumbing of Age, human counterpart "Carla" plays it a bit straighter.
- In the seventh season penultimate episode of South Park named Raisins, the waitresses serving at the Hooters parody store have dulcet names like Mercedes, Porsche, Ferrari and Lexus.
- Part and parcel of Challenge of the GoBots, especially the toys. Feel free to guess what kind of vehicles Cy-Kill, Scooter, Cop-Tor, Dumper, Super Couper, Throttle, Tail-Pipe, Zero, Buggy Man, and Loco turn into...
- The multitudes of porn actresses who name themselves "Porsche," "Mercedes," "Lexus," etc. The connotation is one of wealth and luxury, and rare pleasures.
- As a sidenote, Mercedes is (or better, was - thank you, Mr. Daimler) a perfectly fine given name for a girl. The car was named after Mercedes Jellinek, daughter of Emil Jellinek, a Czech-Hungarian-Austrian-Jewish diplomat and businessman who (among other things) owned one of Daimler's earliest major dealerships (primarily serving the Viennese elite). Mr. Jellinek was important enough to the Daimler company that when he asked Wilhelm Maybach (Gottlieb Daimler's main business partner) to design a fancy sports car and name it the "Mercedes" after his daughter, Maybach obliged. The car was such a success that Jellinek actually changed his surname to "Jellinek Mercedes" in honor of the car, making him a very early example of the trope.
- Former Michigan Congressmen William Ford, Bob Carr, and Dick Chrysler. Ford is a descendant of Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company. Oddly, the most famous political Ford from Michigan, Gerald, was not related.
- The space shuttle orbiters (Challenger, Discovery, Endeavour, Columbia and Atlantis, as well as the prototype Enterprise which never left the atmosphere) were all named after sailing ships.
- Technology companies often go with a theme for codenaming their products. AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) used Location Theme Naming and then Animal Theme Naming before they began using the names construction vehicles, such as Bulldozer or Excavator.