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File:Cars Poster 2 2575.png

A series of computer-animated films from Pixar and directed by John Lasseter, who also directed the first two Toy Story movies and A Bugs Life. True to the title, the stories take place in a world entirely populated by anthropomorphic cars and other vehicles — aside from plants, there are no organic life-forms of any sort. Just about everything else is reinterpreted into automotive counterparts, such as insects becoming Volkswagen Beetles and rock formations in the shape of car bodies.

Not to be confused with the song by Gary Numan, or Ric Ocasek's band.

Pixar has also produced a number of Cars-related shorts, such as "Mater and the Ghostlight" (included with the Cars DVD release) and the "Mater's Tall Tale" series. More information about these can be found on the Pixar Shorts page.

DisneyToon Studios also published a Direct-To-Video Spin-Off of the franchise called "Planes" under the creative leadership of John Lasseter.

The Character Sheet can be found here.

The following tropes are common to many or all entries in the Cars (franchise) franchise.
For tropes specific to individual installments, visit their respective work pages.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Every. Single. Character.
  • Author Appeal: John Lasseter admits he made this movie cause he likes cool cars.
    • Several of the senior animators and designers at Pixar are also car enthusiasts, and the company regularly holds in-company car shows where staffers bring in their vintage and exotic automobiles.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Lightning McQueen for starters. The other racecars are no slouches in the naming department either.
  • The Big Race
  • Bittersweet Ending: McQueen loses the race and Chick quits his job as Piston Cup racer. Doc lets McQueen, the King, and his wife stay at Radiator Springs.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Guido (voiced by Guido Quaroni) only speaks in (correct) Italian.
    • The second movie takes this Up to Eleven as the action goes to Japan, France and Italy.
  • Breakout Character: If it hasn't been obvious in the past several years since the first movie, Mr. Tow Mater.
    • Word of God is that the genesis for Cars 2 came while John Lasseter was doing international promotional tours for Cars, then musing, "How would Mater respond to this?"
  • Butt Monkey: Lightning in some of the Mater's Tall Tales shorts.
  • Conjoined Eyes
  • Cool Car: The entire cast.
  • The Ditz: Mater.
    • Genius Ditz: He has a VERY extensive knowledge on car engines and their parts; particularly cars who were pretty bad. Also don't get us started on his Batman Gambit and analytical skills.
  • Enormous Engine: Snot Rod.
  • Fake Nationality: Lebanese-American Tony Shalhoub as Luigi. This may be an Actor Allusion to his role as an Italian cabdriver on Wings.
  • Feather Fingers: They're cars, and yet they manage to write, paint, and hold microphones.
  • Licensed Game: Four in total; Cars: The Video Game, Cars Mater-National, Cars Race-O-Rama and Cars 2: The Video Game.
    • Pretty much averting The Problem with Licensed Games since they have all gotten at least decent reviews and from all reports are actually pretty fun and represent a lot of the racing "feel" of the movies. Then again, how hard can it be to make a game based on movies about race cars?
  • Loads and Loads of Characters
  • Matryoshka Object: The closing credits of Cars 2 showed Fillmore, Sarge, Luigi, and Guido as nesting dolls.
  • Meaningful Name: A lot of the names are from Isaac Asimov's short story "Sally", which is about sentient (robotic) cars.
    • McQueen's name gets some confusion though as people believe he's based on a famous race car legend. He's actually named after Glenn McQueen, a Pixar worker who died during Finding Nemo's production.
  • Merchandise-Driven: Four years and five new Pixar movies later, you still can see an ad for a new Cars toy once in a while, and they still take up a good portion of shelf space in stores. A study conducted in 2010 found that 50% of American boys aged 5-13 had at least one Cars shirt in their wardrobe. This is probably the reason that justifies Disney's Executive Meddling in getting Pixar to make a sequel.
  • Milestone Celebration: Both films have specialized logos for Pixar, due to being released on their 20th and 25th anniversaries, respectively.
  • Minnesota Nice: Once scene features an overly cheerful lost car named Minnie asks for directions in an exaggerated Scandanavian-esque accent and mentions that her husband also got them lost in Shakopee.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal
  • New Age Retro Hippie: Filmore.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Many characters are in-universe automobile versions of real celebrities, voiced by the same people they were based from. See the individual movie entries below for details.
  • Odd Couple: Lighting and Mater (worldly/naive), Sarge and Fillmore (army/hippie), Ramone and Flo ("gangster"/showgirl)
  • Or Was It a Dream?: How almost all of Mater's Tall Tales end. Even though McQueen is in all of them despite a)him not remembering any of it, and b)the events taking places years before the two met.
  • Pimped-Out Car: It was bound to happen, when you have a "Body Paint" store at Radiator Springs.
  • Punny Name: Done with many of the characters names, like Jay Limo, Darryl Cartrip, Jeff Gorvette, David Hobbscap, and Brent Mustangburger.
    • Befitting its globetrotter plot, the sequel expands the puns to places and things, such as Petrodilly Circus and Big Bentley in London, the Republic of Rearendia, and the Running of the Bulldozers in Pamplona.
  • Real Place Allusion: "Radiator Springs", since Michael Wallis, an Oklahoma historian, led Pixar's crew on research trips over a 1200-mile stretch of the former US Route 66 through many little places from Baxter Springs, Kansas to Peach Springs, Arizona before they created their cartoon caricature village as a composite of multiple real places. The fictional town's location (in the map in the flashback) matches Peach Springs, but there are so many references to individual landmarks, people and businesses in every town along the way that Wikivoyage makes an entire itinerary of this.
    • "Ornament Valley" is Monument Valley in northern Arizona – the same iconic scenery often seen in historic Westerns.
    • The "Motor Speedway of the South" is a larger-than-life version of a NASCAR track in Bristol, Tennessee.
  • Real Place Background: Pixar made multiple research trips to the former US Route 66 from Baxter Springs KS through Peach Springs AZ before creating Radiator Springs. "Ornament Valley" uses Monument Valley AZ scenery, for example, and Pixar visited multiple real NASCAR tracks as research for the film. The map of Radiator Springs in the flashback uses Peach Springs' location.
  • Running Gag: This film seems awfully fond of butt jokes. To wit:
    • Lizzie slaps a sticker on the bumper of a couple passing through that reads "Nice Butte!"
    • Mater places his towing hook in a rather uncomfortable spot when he tows Lightning away.
    • Lightning catches the Sheriff in a compromising position at the doctor's office/garage.
    • "Rust-Eze medicated bumper ointment, new rear-end formula!"
    • Ramone flashes his undercarriage Von Dutch-style pinstriping at the lost tourists.
    • Not to mention where Sally keeps her Embarrassing Tattoo.
    • The fuel pumps in the forecourt of the "Wheel Well Motel" bear the wordmark "Butte Gas" in the logo.
    • Rip Clutchgoneski, one of the racecars from the sequel, hails from the Republic of New Rearendia.
  • Scenery Porn: It is a Pixar work.
    • The "Life Is a Highway" segment from the first film is especially noteworthy.
      • The sequel shows us BEAUTIFUL scenes of Italy, France, Japan and England!
  • Shown Their Work: Watch the DVD extras to see the amount of work that went into even minor details that virtually nobody will notice.
    • This is especially noticed in the second film. Especially when many of the Mooks turn out to be Lemons and Mater's spiel about car parts.
  • Technology Porn: With all the cars in this movie, is this a surprise?
    • With both cars and spies, this is taken Up to Eleven in the sequel, especially whenever Finn McMissile appears.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Mater is one, as evident in his "Tall Tales" shorts. This becomes a plot point for Cars 2.
  • World of Funny Animals: A rare non-animal example.