I am creating a system that needs car information. What is the difference between the car brand and car make?

If for example I have a Toyota Corolla with plate number AAA 123 that is color red, how do I know the brand and make of it?

This forum states:

A "brand" is a name used by a manufacturer of any product. Franco-American is a brand of canned pasta (it happens to be one of several brands Campbell's uses to sell its products).

"Make" is used almost exclusively for cars, and usually in conjunction with the word "model." Ford Taurus, Mitsubishi Eclipse, Toyota Celica--the "make" is the first word in the pair, the "model" the second word. Just as a single company can produce products under several "brands," an automobile company can produce many makes of cars; for example, Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln are all makes produced by Ford Motor Company; General Motors produces Pontiacs, Chevrolets, Saturns, GMCs, among many others.

You would never ask a person "What brand of car do you drive?" You would ask, "What make of car do you drive?" For most other products, you would never ask for them by "make," you would ask for them by "brand."

I am still confused. Is it just by the way we used the words or does it really have a difference in their meaning?

  • 2
    Did you check the definitions of "brand" and "make" to see what they said? Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 0:56
  • @NathanTuggy I've edited my question by adding more information. Thanks! Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 1:08

5 Answers 5


For your system, the terms you want to use are:

Make: Toyota

Model: Corolla

Year (or "Model Year"): 2015

Plate number: AAA 123

Color: Red

Explaining why you need to use "make" instead of "brand" is harder than I expected, though. The words "make" and "brand" have the same meaning, we just tend to use one more often than the other when talking about certain types of items. There isn't always a good reason for why people use certain words.

When talking about your favorite brand of clothing, peanut butter, software, shampoo, or pretty much anything other than a car, you generally use "brand". For cars, you almost always use "make".

You would never say, "This is my favorite make of clothing".

"This is my favorite clothing-maker" also sounds a little odd.

For cars, people do sometimes say, "Here is a list of top car brands," but that could just as easily be "Here is a list of top automakers".

If asking or describing the manufacturer of a specific car, though, you definitely want make. As the text you posted points out, it just sounds odd to ask someone, "What brand is your car?" even though they would still understand you and answer the question.

  • This is a very good answer, thank you for consider that I will used this on my system. :) Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 1:48

As it says in the definition you quoted, pertaining to cars, "brand" is used rarely, more often "make" is used. There is no difference, except that "make" is the more acceptable and common term.

You can say that the difference between "brand" and "make" is that "brand" is used for everything and "make" is used for cars (to indicate their brand).


Make and brand are colloquially the same thing, but there is nuance.

Make is the make(r) or manufacturer of a product and Brand is the indelible marking of a product and another name for brand is maker's mark, so when people are saying make in reference to a car, they are generally referring to the maker's mark or brand and not the maker or manufacturer because in our modern world of contract production the manufacturer of a thing might be using someone else's mark and so what is important is not who physically made the thing but rather the brand which identifies to what family the thing belongs.

We tend to think of one maker as making one brand, because products are usually first created by a single company--one maker, one maker's mark.

For exmaple, AAA company, or make(r), starts out making the product AAA. If they are successful they might start making a new line of products BBB under a new brand name AAA or make a new BBB brand. Or the company might buy another company and/or brand CCC. People are used to saying CCC brand is made by CCC so they keep doing it even though it is now made by AAA. For example GM makes the GMC, Chevrolet and Cadillac brands.

A Chevy Silverado is also technically a GM Silverado, but people would give you weird looks if you said it. Sometimes companies will re-brand products and it is weird, for a while until one day it isn't anymore.

But why is it weird?

A maker (manufacturer) can make many things under different brands. Likewise a brand can be made by one or more makers. A bakery might bake a national brand one day and a store brand the next because shipping bread long distances doesn't make sense so it needs to be made near every major population center. One brand is made at several bakeries and one bakery makes several brands. For a while the in the 1980s, the Chevy Nova was made with Toyota parts at a combined GM/Toyota plant name NUMMI. It would be odd to say you had a Toyota Nova, but if you opened the hood, the Toyota name was all over on parts.

Shot Story: There is a difference, but it can be confusing so over time the difference is avoided and the words start to mean the same thing.


As has been stated, make is more commonly used than brand. Another reason to use make to refer to the manufacturer name is that the term "brand" has another meaning when describing vehicles, as in vehicle title branding.


In your case "Toyota" is the "brand". The term "brand" is usually used to denote the manufacturer - you have Toyota Motor Company (or simply Toyota). "Make" is usually used to denote the model of the car - that would be Corolla (for you). In the automotive world, you would repeatedly hear/see "make and model" being used when asked about a car. To clarify my answer i would add an example of a similar to your project website, so you can see how they have structured the "make/model" thing: Toyota Corolla table

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