Established at the end of last month, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is the new, single company that manufactures Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, SRT, and Mopar — these one previously produced by Chrysler Group LLC — plus Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, and Abarth — previously produced by Fiat S.p.A.. This represents the culmination of a process that began in 2009 when Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy with the United Automobile Workers, Fiat, and the U.S. and Canadian governments as its shared owners, followed by Fiat gradually increasing its ownership until it acquired all of the shares this January. FCA will be based in the Netherlands. Its logo has been designed by Milan, Italy-based Robilant Associati.
Use of an acronym helps create a transition from the past, without severing the roots, while at the same time reflecting the global scope of the Group’s activities. Easy to understand, pronounce and remember, it is a name well suited to a modern, international marketplace.
The one thing that is clear about this redesign is that it couldn’t favor one brand or the other… or both. The new logo would have to establish a new, and neutral, presence that would clearly stand as an impartial owner to two storied consumer brands. So Chrysler’s iconic penta-star logo is officially gone while Fiat’s condensed wordmark lives on in the Fiat badge that sits on its cars; Chrysler uses the ridiculously elongated wing logo on its Chrysler-branded cars. Based on that premise, the safe bet was to design an innocuous wordmark that would sit at the corporate level without calling much attention to itself. Something it succeeds at in aces, because that acronym is forgettable upon arrival.
The three letters in the logo are grouped in a geometric configuration inspired by the essential shapes used in automobile design: the F, derived from a square, symbolizes concreteness and solidity; the C, derived from a circle, representing wheels and movement, symbolizes harmony and continuity; and finally, the A, derived from a triangle, indicates energy and a perennial state of evolution.
And, unfortunately, it’s not just boring. It’s boring and poorly done. I can get behind the idea of minimal logos and my hard drive knows how many wordmarks I have myself designed and proposed based on letterforms that fit neatly in squares but this is just clumsy. The “F” is almost a square but isn’t (it’s like 95% there), the “C” looks weird with the terminals cut horizontally, and, the one that I feel ruins the composition, the “A”, just shoots over the other two letters creating an unpleasant incline. Three letters shouldn’t be that hard to get right. For a company devoted to the design of some of the most well-known, mainstream cars in the market this logo shows little disposition to precision or creativity.
Thanks to Todd Ridley for the tip.