UPDATE: There is rampant speculation today that at tomorrow’s investor conference, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne will announce the elimination of the Chrysler brand. It’s down to two models now — the 300 and the Pacifica — and it has essentially let Chrysler twist in the wind for years while Ford and GM have made some half-hearted and costly attempts to revive their luxury brands.
At the New England Motor Press Association’s award ceremony last night, FCA picked up a handful of awards. At one point during an acceptance speech, the media assembled were informed to pay close attention to Marchionne’s announcement on Friday, because big news is going to come out of it.
It’s been four years since “Chrysler” as an indentifiable corporation, has ceased to exist. The disappearance of the Pentastar was the first step. Chances are pretty good that we’ll be finding out more about the continued future as a brand tomorrow.
The Chrysler Pentastar — a logo that has appeared all over the Chrysler Corporation material since 1963 — officially got its pink slip. With the move to FCA — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles — the Pentastar has apparently outlived its usefulness. Here’s a history of the Pentastar’s heritage.
The move to the new corporate logo — a slightly stylized version of the FCA acronym with the crossbar in the A removed — has been ongoing since May when the official new logo appeared at the headquarters. Ever since, it’s been disappearing from everything related to the company. This week, FCA was listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the new logo, and even its corporate news blog — which used to be called “Under the Pentastar” — is now operating under another name.
Robert Stanley, who was a Vice President and the Chrysler account executive with Lippincott & Marguilies — the design firm charged with coming up with a new symbol for the brand — wrote about the symbol’s creation on Chrysler’s blog in 2007:
“It was 1962 when then-Chrysler president Lynn Townsend wanted a new corporate symbol to represent all of the corporation’s brands. It had to be a symbol with a strong, classic look, instantly recognizable and universal. Wherever you were, in whatever country, that symbol had to say ‘Chrysler.’
“We wanted something simple, a classic, dynamic but stable shape for a mark that would lend itself to a highly designed, styled product. What that meant, basically, was a classic geometric form.
“We wanted something that was not stolid. That’s the reason that we broke up the pentagonal form that became the Pentastar. It provides a certain tension and a dynamic quality. One of the execs called me up and asked, ‘What do I call this thing?’ And I said, ‘Call it the Pentastar.’ That’s where the name came from.
“In 1962, the Pentastar logo began appearing on the right front quarter panel of Dodge, Chrysler and Plymouth vehicles. That was also the year comedian Bob Hope strutted onto the stage in front of the Pentastar at the beginning of his weekly TV show ‘Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre.’
“Soon the Pentastar was put to work as a hood ornament, particularly in the 1980s. It also appeared at the top of dealership signs, office stationary, annual reports, the headquarters building … just about anywhere and everywhere. Even after the merger with Daimler, it was used on the glass of Chrysler brand products. Look in the lower right corner and there you’ll see it, right on the glass. I’m pleased the Pentastar will continue to symbolize The New Chrysler.”
The Chrysler Pentastar appeared everywhere on Dodge, Chrysler and Plymouth vehicles, in owner’s manuals, on door glass, on the very keys used to start the cars, and on its headquarters.
The new logo is decidedly more…er…Helvetica?
Vaya con dios, Pentastar. You’ve served the brand and the corporation well for 51 years.