Fiat Rebrands to Form Two Distinct Divisions

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While there are many notable business mergers going on around the globe, one company is quietly divorcing—err, de-merging—into two distinct brands, each with its own logo design and visual identity.

As of the first of January, there are two different Fiat companies and logos that people in the UK may encounter. The first is Fiat’s auto business, which is adopting a retro logo with elongated capital letters drawn in the cool blue associated with the company. The second logo design represents Fiat’s Industrial business, using the same blue as a background along with dark gold letters in a serious square font.

Our guess is that Fiat is making this move due to the diverging branding needs of their two divisions. An industrial logo needs a very different brand and logo design than a general passenger automotive one. Rather than meet in the middle with a logo design that doesn’t perfectly fit either brand, the company has wisely chosen to create two separate identities. Starting in 2011, the two divisions will operate as completely separate companies, each with their own CEO’s and distinct listings on the Milan Stock Exchange. However, they still will be under the umbrella of the Fiat parent company, which also owns Alfa Romeo and other diverse auto-related brands.

How well do these logos work for the new brands that they represent? Both refer to the Fiat past with the recognisable company blue. In addition, the Fiat Automotive logo design is very similar to a few used in the past. Clearly the logo designers looked toward the company’s notable history when building the brand. This is consistent with the company’s prior attempts to remind customers in the UK and all over Europe about their glory days through marketing and other visual elements.

In addition, the elongated ‘legs’ on the automotive logo design resembles the driving lane stencils we are so familiar with. Whether this is intentional or accidental, it definitely relates to the company business. Although the stretch at the bottom of the logo design seems a little awkward at first, it will help to create a more recognisable logo design and automobile emblem.

Both logos will need to be easily recognisable and look as well in colourless chrome as they do in their brand’s colours. This may be the test of the logos, although we suspect the company has already considered this complication. We also wonder if Fiat Automotive will adopt a new emblem to be used on cars. Many auto companies opt to use an image rather than their full company name to work well in a small area while maintaining customer recognition. However, even if they opt not to go this route, the logo seems basic enough to work well in the smaller size that automobiles demand.

These logos are not exactly stunning, but they will likely work well for the two new companies that they represent. The de-merger is unusual, but it just may allow each division to really shine.