Consumers’ familiarity with the old, the barrier to a logo redesign

At times, at the root of a logo is an identity that is meant to capture what the company is about and sometimes what it aspires to be.

With the passage of time, companies change, be it in size, management, philosophy, offerings et cetera and in most cases a brand visual identity redesign is required to ensure that the logo is in sync with the current state of the company.

That brings the one word that terrifies most businesses to mind, change. The fear of the unknown kills a lot of great could-have-been redesigns.

Henry Ford II hired Paul Rand to rethink and modernize the familiar scripted oval Ford logo but eventually he decided not to change the logo.

Above is the logo that Paul Rand proposed as a redesign of the one that, though modified a bit, is still used till this day.

The first thing that one notices is that the proposed logo took its ‘looks’ from the logo it was meant to succeed.
I think Paul Rand was successful in making a ‘smooth’ transition between the then current and his proposed logo whilst sticking to the brief.

Not that a logo must illustrate what the company does, but, Paul Rand’s proposed logo design brilliantly captured ‘motion’ and ‘wheels’ amongst other things.

Apparently, one of the reasons Henry Ford II decided to stick to the old logo was that, what was good enough for his grandfather was good enough for him.

Fair argument? I think so, not.

I’d estimate an equal number of comments of people that are for versus those that are against Paul Rand’s proposed logo redesign that I’ve seen online, which sort of reminds one as to how subjective design is.
Just like with other (re)brands, a logo redesign seldom gets a thumbs up from everybody.

Was the proposed logo a victim of the familiarity factor enjoyed by the current logo or is the older logo simply the best design solution of the two?