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I think you're right. I am dual nationality US/UK so sometimes I tend to cross my metaphors. Perhaps a better, British example would be the word "motor" instead of "auto". Used in words like "motorway", but I've never heard anyone actually use it to mean "car" outside of 80s cockney rap.

(Which is apparently a thing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/'Ullo_John!_Gotta_New_Motor%3F)

Nah, still pretty widely used in certain circles - even to the extent that you can have a car sales site called motors and it be obvious: http://www.motors.co.uk/

Well that's certainly an interesting example - that website uses the word "car" in every instance except the domain name.

I think as a usage it's regarded as vaguely old fashioned and twee.

For comparison here's https://www.mobiles.co.uk/ - again, in every instance the noun is either "phone" or the fully qualified "mobile phone".

I've most commonly heard motor as referring to an engine (UK english). I'd say a good example might be from french, with the formal and correct "voiture" not commonly being used, with the less formal "bagnole" being much more common.

Motor is the only word used for engine in Swedish, I believe it's the same in other nordic languages.

I've heard "motor" used quite frequently for "car", but only ever hear it from my 70yo father now (UK English).

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