Home » Lancia Unveils New Logo, Direction, And A Sculpture That Looks Like A Computer Mouse

Lancia Unveils New Logo, Direction, And A Sculpture That Looks Like A Computer Mouse

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You know what’s one of the saddest zombies of the auto industry right now? Lancia. Lancia was once one of the most innovative, stylish and daring automakers for decades, and now they’re just a shell of themselves, with a website that offers precisely one (1) car for sale, the Ypsilon.  So what happened to Lancia? This was the company that had the first unibody car, the first production V6, handsome cars like the Flaminia, and the flapjacking Stratos, for fudge’s sake! And now? They make one city car. I think Stellantis is finally waking up to the idea that they’re sitting on something that could be really great, which is why they’re re-launching the Lancia brand, complete with a new mission, new logo, and even a concept that’s not so much a car as it is a giant sculpture of what looks a lot like a computer mouse.

Whathappened

They launched all this a couple days ago, and yesterday released a video of their full Lancia Design Day event, which I’ll be happy to let you watch, for free, even:

Let’s start with what Lancia’s goal is going to be; instead of providing Stellantis with a whole car brand that the company can forget even exists until the end of the workday when someone, somewhere probably thinks “oh, shit, right, Lancia!” with that same exact feeling you got at college when you had those dreams about an entire class you totally forgot about all semester, Lancia will now be an all-electric brand, with three all-new EVs planned for release between 2024 and 2028.

So you know they’re serious this time and this isn’t just another rebadge-a-Chrysler-300 kind of situation, Lancia has also rolled out a new logo, this one going back to an older design, not seen since 2007, that references the namesake of Lanica: a lance, like the big pointy weapon, with a banner that reads LANCIA.

Lancialogos

The new logo returns to the banner and lance, albeit highly simplified and streamlined, a big improvement over the weird, centered fangs and stuffy serif lettering of the outgoing logo, which felt like a mutated snake about to bite a business card from a watch store. Much like the justifiably-maligned Kia logo, the new Lancia logo eliminates the crossbars from the As, though in this case it makes more sense, as As sans crossbars are just the Greek letter lambda (Λ), which was the name of the first car, the Lancia Lambda, to use the now nearly universal unibody-type construction. Was this an intentional reference? I have no idea.

Perhaps the strangest thing about this “renaissance” (the press release calls it that) of Lancia is how they’re choosing to show off their new “Pure and Radical” design language, not via a concept car, as such, but via something they call the Pu+Ra Zero, a sculpture that embodies the traits of their new automotive design language without the constraints of being, you know, an automobile.

I suppose most concept cars are really just rolling sculptures anyway, so I guess the Pu+Ra Zero is just extrapolating this to its ultimate form, where any pretense of utility or drivability is dispensed with in favor of pure design.

I mean, there are some hints at automotiveness in the thing, perhaps most so at the rear, where a pair of ovoid red rings remind us of the majesty that once were taillights:

Lanciapurazero06 638465dad197f Large

I have to say I do really like the way the letters that form the name were handled at the rear, in a highly dimensional, extruded way:

Pura Rear

Considering how much emphasis modern automotive design places on wheels, it is interesting to see a design study that eliminates them entirely, for better or worse.

Lanciapurazero09 638465aa4c3f6 Large

I suppose the central, glowing hole is meant to evoke thoughts of powerful electric storage systems or perhaps even something exotic and fictional like a small fusion reactor, but despite this sorta-technical element, no attempt appears to have been made to determine how this design language would package passenger room or mechanical components.

Lancianewlogo 6384dacdcbb02 Large

 

I suppose this “3D mainifesto” (again, words from the Press Release, not me) does convey enough of an aesthetic vocabulary that we should have some reasonable guess about the design of the upcoming EV Lancias: sleek, highly streamlined, like dollops of mercury dropped into a swimming pool.

Or, you know, a computer mouse.

Lancia is a marque I’ve always liked and respected, but the past couple decades or so has not been good to it. I’m glad Stellantis has dragged old Lanica out of the ditch, hosed it down, and towed it into the garage. I’m very curious to see what comes out the other end that can actually be driven.

 

 

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31 Responses

  1. It’s fine and I wish them well, but, unfortunately this brand is probably dead on arrival. Lancia has been trying to sell cars to luxury handbag users for decades and it hasn’t been working out particularly well.

  2. Pu+Ra looks like Putra (especially on their big sign) which sounds like the first half of putrefaction.

    Also, which way the homunculus get oriented in the “car”? Face down forward, face up backwards? Homunculus is actually a glowing cube?

  3. It’s a cool sculpture, but I’d like to see how that translates into a moving machine.

    Also, after watching some of that video I have to say that anyone sitting through a presentation like that has a better attention span than I do.

  4. Question – (and possibly an idea for an article) – How do you pronounce Lancia? Lan-see-ah ?

    I know when I moved from Australia to the US, pronunciation of some brands was different.

    Nissan : (Aus) Nis-san. (USA) Nee-san. And I have no idea how it’s pronounced in the UK, or the rest of Europe. And that’s a global brand.

    Some of the brands that do not make it here to the US have names that are questionably pronouced.

    Perhaps you could have people from different countries show how they pronounce it.

    Australia
    ————
    Chevrolet : Shev-ro-lay
    Datsun : Dat-sun
    Ford : Four-d
    Holden : Hol-den
    Nissan : Nis-san
    and so on….

    1. Given that most of my non-US car mfr pronunciation comes from a certain British car show host with teeth like an AD&D Monster Manual, I believe it’s pronounced:

      “Lhonnn-zi-ugghh”

    2. Ah, but the question is, how do the Japanese pronounce “Nissan” and “Datsun”. Does the latter brand still exist in Oz? (Wikipedia says the original name was the acronym DAT, and the Japanese pronunciation “datto” shared the meaning of “dash off like a startled rabbit” .)

    3. Personally, I always pronounced it: Lahn-See-Ya.
      But the Italians in the video who actually work for the company seem to pronounce it: Lan-Chya.

      I also pronounce Chevrolet: mutha-fuckin-piece-o-shit! But that may just be a regional dialect.

  5. The name “Pu+Ra Zero” is reminiscent of how Lancia had a concept car, in 1970, called the Stratos Zero which in turn led to the “flapjacking” Stratos HF so there may be hope yet for the future of Lancia.

  6. The “non-functional quasi-abstract sculpture to represent the visual brand language of our company” is pretty common across industries from an industrial design POV. When I worked at Trek, they had the same things for the different bike divisions; an aggressive, tough looking form for the mountain bike division, and a flowing, organic, tense form for the road bike team. I’ve heard a bunch of different names for things like this, but basically it’s just a reference to draw inspiration from, and it’s nice to use on details/components as well as the larger form/body/cowl itself.

  7. “something they call the Pu+Ra Zero” & “3D manifesto” This just radiates danger!!!

    Does the IAEA know about this? Pu (Plutonium) + Ra (Radium). Does Lancia now need to be on the world nuclear watch list? Is that a radioactive core in the middle of a reactor?

    1. There’s a little Italian man disintegrating in there.

      “Logic clearly dictates… that the needs of the many … outweigh the needs of the few.”

    1. How was the inside? I feel like they photograph reasonably well, with nice shapes and colors, but I don’t know what the material quality actually is like to the touch

  8. Mainifesto? How unlike the blessed Jasin to allow a typo to slip past. Or did Lancia make it up?

    However, thank you as well as for introducing me to their special model called, if the import it to the UK, the “Bert Ferret”. That would do well here.

  9. You know what? I dig that logo. The references, the surprising asymmetry of the lance, the silver on what I guess is meant to be brushed anodized aluminum, the fact that it includes the name of the brand (which it needs because Lancia is not a super well-recognized brand) in a fairly legible way. It’s got good proportions, it’s got just enough but not too much detail. It works. It’s not an instant icon, but it does its job and if the brand does well, it could into one with a revision or two. Good job, whoever designed that.

    1. I like the design quite a bit, I don’t like the font. I don’t think it’s going to wear well. It feels like 1990, trying to evoke the turn of a futuristic twenty-first century. But we’re now a quarter into this century, with three quarters until the next one. Give me some serifs.

  10. “the Greek letter lambda (Λ), which was the name of the first car”
    I dont like those hollow A’s but you got me with this factoid.Whether intentional or not,it’s neat

  11. When I look at them side by side, they don’t really look similar at all other than the A’s, which everyone and their mother seems to be doing nowadays anyway, but goddammit, this Lancia logo and the new Dacia logo give me the exact same vibe. The fact that both names end in -cia is not helping.

    I don’t think comparisons with a Romanian budget brand owned by Renault are what Stellantis was going for, but honestly, I’d rather have a Duster, Sandero Stepway, or Jogger than a 10-year-old Fiat 500 with makeup. How the mighty have fallen. The Delta Integrale is still one of my dream cars…

    1. I also was thinking that this had a “spaceshipy” feel for modern day Luke Skywalkers.

      But then thought, “wait when did Lancia get into deep sea exploration vehicles?”

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