| Return to the roots
Calcutta, May 29: Ford India cars that roll out from the company’s Chennai plant will soon sport a new logo — a tweaked version of the automotive giant’s famed Blue Oval.
The redesign of the Blue Oval — which will become the official logo once again of the world’s second largest carmaker after a three-year hiatus — is being timed with the centenary celebrations at Dearborn, Michigan.
On June 16, 1903, Henry Ford founded the company, which still bears his name — and where his great-grandson William Clay Ford Jr still runs the show as chairman and chief executive officer.
At present, Ford uses two versions of the logo. A flat blue-and-white one is used for corporate business cards and employee uniform patches. The shiny, badge one, with a silver outline and interplay of light and shadow, is used by most dealers and on the cars.
The new logo will meld features from both: it will have the shadowed blue background of the badge version and the blue outline of the corporate logo.
The new Blue Oval will hang on Ford’s world headquarters building in Dearborn next month, in time for the centennial celebration from June 12 to 16. It officially becomes the symbol of the corporation on June 17.
“Logo standardisation and its usage is guided by corporate guidelines and is implemented across the globe. All cars made at Ford India now carry the well-known and distinctive Ford Blue Oval badge,” said the Ford India spokesperson.
However, he refused to say how much the company was spending on the logo redesign, which is being done by Partners, part of the London-based WPP Group,
“The Ford oval is a powerful symbol of that proud heritage,” William Clay Ford Jr told employees in a recent e-mail. “It is recognised everywhere as an icon of the company that put the world on wheels in the 20th century.”
”Of course, it will cost a lot of money, but it is a cost benefit trade-off. Changes in the logo is done to give a fresh look to the products and also to the company,” said a senior official of HTA.
“Logos are inherently more iconic than words and may stir deep loyalty among customers. Unifying the message under one logo is more effective, especially when it taps into positive feelings of patriotism and reliability,” he added.
Although Ford Motor is holding grand centennial celebrations next month in US, there are no big bashes planned here in India.
The low-key response to the historical event is a little bewildering — considering that Ford India could have used it to drum up customer support to its operations here in India.
“Ford India Limited is a young company which started its Indian operations in 1996. The Chennai greenfield commenced operations in 1999. Ford India is not completing 100 years,” said the spokesperson in a somewhat defensive justification for the lack of pizzazz surrounding the event.
“Announcements pertaining to Ford India Limited’s plans for celebrating Ford Motor Company’s 100th anniversary, if any, will be made in due course,” he added.
Ford India manufactures two sedans in India — the Ikon and the Mondeo. The company exported 28,915 cars in 2002. “In 2003 we are looking at doing the same number,” the official added. The company exports CKD units to South Africa, Mexico, Brazil and components to China.
During the calender year January-December 2002, Ford India sold 44,643 cars, including exports. In the first three months of the current fiscal, it sold 15,251 cars.