The Evolution of 25 Automotive Make Logos

Every car company has its own unique history. From what were once tiny companies, many have grown to become well-known, worldwide entities selling hundreds of thousands of vehicles on an annual basis. These companies often have fascinating stories behind them, and some of a car company's story can be told through the evolution of their logo. In this infographic, you can see more than 20 different vehicle manufacturers and how their logos have changed over time, dating as far back as 1870 with the original logo for Mitsubishi.

 

Several of the oldest car companies have gone through many different logo changes over the years. Chevrolet, for example, has gone through nearly ten changes to their logo, dating as far back as 1913. Interestingly enough, the company has also seen arguably the most drastic changes to their logos over time, as the original logo in black is far different than the classic (and updated) bowtie logo that we've all come to know today. Today, the logo for Chevrolet is one of the most classic examples of brand identity ever.

 

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History of the Chevrolet Logo

Chevrolet's first logo was created as a black signature by the company's founder, Louis Chevrolet. It was only a few short years later, in 1914, when the logo saw a major change by incorporating the first version of the bowtie. The company felt at the time that this design made the brand appear to be luxurious and elegant; the word "Chevrolet" was placed across the middle of the bowtie design.

 

It wouldn't be until nearly a hundred years later, in 1985, when the word "Chevrolet" was removed from Chevrolet's logo. Fifteen years later, in 2000, the logo would become three-dimensional for the very first time, in an attempt to give it a more confident and modern look. The logo would ultimately be redesigned again in 2011 to commemorate the company's 100th anniversary. With this change, the company kept the gold color of the emblem but decided to thicken the silver frame. This, Chevrolet felt, made it look more dynamic, strong, and luxurious.

Volkswagen's Many Logo Changes

Volkswagen's first version of their logo debuted in 1937, and it has seen more than a dozen changes since that time. The name "Volkswagen" translates as "car for the people" in German, and it's one of the most prominent car brands in the world. Did you know that Volkswagen's first vehicle, the VW Beetle, was inspired by a sketch in a French magazine? Today, the Volkswagen emblem remains iconic, and it's one of the most recognizable logos in the world. The very first version of the Volkswagen logo combined the letters "V" and "W," one on top of the other, in a design reminiscent of a cogwheel that incorporated a rounded interpretation of a swastika. This design was changed, however, after just two years.

 

The company's longest-running logo was used from 194560, and it's clearly the foundation of the logo that Volkswagen uses today. Modifications would be made consistently throughout the following decades, with the first three-dimensional version of the logo being introduced in 2000. Today's Volkswagen logo, which was introduced in 2019, was originally designed to celebrate the brand's launch of electric cars. With the logo returning to a two-dimensional design, it gives a simple and sophisticated vibe.

Ford's Simple but Classic Logo

It goes without saying that Ford is one of the most iconic automakers ever, but as legendary as they've become in the industry, their logo has always been relatively modest and simple, though it's plenty effective. The company is named after its founder, Henry Ford, and has always stayed consistent with its branding.

 

The very first version of Ford's logo was a rounded badge in a frame with curves and leaves. The branding was solely black and white, and the logo even included the "Detroit, Michigan" tagline. This would set the tone for the logos that would follow: elegant and simple. The logo for Ford that we're all familiar with is the blue and white oval, and that was actually introduced in 1927. The frame on the logo has been changed a bit over the years, starting with a thick white line surrounded by a thin blue one. This would become the framework for the logo that we all associate with one of the prominent automakers of today.

 

The current logo that Ford uses debuted in 2003. It took a lot of the look from the 1961 logo but now offered more light and volume. With a more refined and sophisticated look, Ford's branding has proven to be timeless.

If it Isn't Broken

Not all car companies have changed their logos more than ten times like Volkswagen. In fact, car manufacturers like Jeep have stayed consistent for their entire tenure. Along the way, the emblem has varied in size and the color may have changed a bit, but the shape of the logo has remained unchanged, dating back to 1943, when the brand itself was founded.

Toyota's Drastic Changes

Believe it or not, Toyota's first logo actually had a different spelling of the brand's name. The "Toyoda" logo was the company's branding from 1935 through 1949, as the company was named after its founder, Kiichiro Toyoda. The company changed the name to "Toyota" in the 1940s after deciding that it would help them expand into the American and European markets.

The very first version of Toyota's logo showed a red and white diamond shape, with the company name right in the middle. While the logo has changed a handful of times over the past several decades, the red and white color scheme has remained a constant for the brand. The logo that Toyota uses today was established in 1989 and hasn't been altered since. The logo today is interesting because the ovals form every letter of the company's name, although the "T" and "O" and are the most obvious.


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