Documents filed in Great Britain, Peru, Uruguay, Chile, and Argentina show that Nissan has registered a flat, two-dimensional update of its existing logo.
The design references the two geometric forms that comprise the current logo – a circle with a rectangle overlaid – but reduces these to a pair of stylised lines enclosing the Nissan logotype.
The font is also reduced in weight and elongated slightly for a more agile aesthetic.
Images of the new logo have been circulating online, but when approached by Dezeen for comment, the company said the trademarked logo "may or may not be used for future products and or services".
Carmakers follow minimal rebranding trend
If the logo is released, Nissan would join the trend for flat identity redesigns that are simpler and better suited to digital applications.
Nissan's original logo can be traced back to when the company took control of DAT Motors (formerly Datsun). Datsun's logo featured a blue rectangle placed over a red circle – representing Japan's flag.
The company introduced the current chrome-effect logo in 2001. The three-dimensional reinterpretation of the original shapes was described as representing the "sophistication, modernism, creativity and perfection" in Nissan's products.
Flat logos are optimised for online
The new flat logo is more in line with many brands that are eschewing the skeuomorphic style of recent decades. Skeuomorphic graphic designs feature embellishments such as shadows and metallic effects, intended to give the illusion of three-dimensions.
Flat design uses simple two-dimensional elements that render more efficiently when used online. This makes it easier for them to load faster and scale more smoothly.
Other brands that have adopted flat design identities recently include Mastercard, which switched to a minimal emblem and a lower-case logotype positioned outside the symbol.