Chrysler’s Pentastar logo takes backseat to FCA – Detroit Free Press
Say goodbye to the Pentastar and hello to FCA.
With the formation of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles now complete, the letters FCA are now appearing everywhere — from the corporate websites to Twitter accounts to the sign to the sign outside Chrysler’s headquarters.
The Pentastar, meanwhile, is largely being phased out — a move that has angered enthusiasts loyal to the Chrysler brand and has spawned a Facebook page and a petition drive to save it.
“Chrysler Group is now part of the newly formed FCA. As such, the spirit of Chrysler and the Pentastar moves forward as part of this new entity, joining the strengths of the previous Fiat S.p.A. and Chrysler Group LLC,” Chrysler said in a statement. “Both have adopted the FCA logo.”
The decision to adopt FCA as a corporate logo won’t affect the Chrysler brand, or any of the eight car and truck brands sold by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. And it also doesn’t mean Chrysler plans to remove the Pentastar from the top of its headquarters building in Auburn Hills.
In fact, Olivier Francois, Chrysler’s chief of marketing, said the company will work to even more clearly to define Fiat and Chrysler’s brands.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles now sells cars, trucks and auto parts under Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram and Mopar brands as well as Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Fiat, Maserati and Magnetti Marelli.
“The biggest wealth that a group like FCA has is the variety of brands and the fact that all of these brands are so different,” Francois said. “So I need to cultivate the difference between the brands.”
Francois also said there aren’t any plans for an FCA marketing campaign.
Nevertheless, FCA will be increasingly used to refer to the corporation.
The transition began in January, after Fiat became the 100% owner of Chrysler and the FCA logo was adopted.
On May 6, the day a new five-year plan was adopted, Chrysler changed the sign that greets employees and visitors at the entrance of its headquarters to FCA.
Then, on Oct. 12 — the day Fiat Chrysler Automobiles cleared its last regulatory hurdles and the new company name became official — the logo on the corporate websites for both Fiat and Chrysler changed to FCA.
“From the perspective of most consumers, this really is a non-issue,” said Tim Calkins, a professor of marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. “Consumers know Chrysler, they know Jeep, they know Dodge. The name of the corporate parent normally doesn’t mean much.”
Calkins said the decision to lean heavily on FCA as the identity of the company reminds him of LVMH Group and ABInBev — two European-based global corporations that own a broad range of brands.
Paris-based LVMH owns luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Moët and Hennessy and 56 other brands spanning the spirits and fashion industries. ABInBev Leuven, Belgium-based Anheuser Busch InBev has a portfolio of more than 200 beer brands, including global brands Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois.
“The interesting thing is that they did not go with a totally new name,” Calkins said. “The name is these two that are sort of brought together.”
The FCA and Pentastar logos
The FCA logo was designed by RobilantAssociati, an Italian brand advisory and design firm.
Fiat Chrysler said it wanted the firm to create a new name, logo, house style and entire corporate identity, “whose universal and essential forms are strongly expressive and evocative.”
FCA, the company said, “helps create a transition from the past, without severing the roots, while at the same time reflecting the global scope of the Group’s activities.”
The Pentastar logo was created by Robert Stanley, at the Lippincott & Margulies design firm in 1962.
“We wanted something simple, a classic, dynamic but stable shape for a mark that would lend itself to a highly designed, styled product,” Stanley said in a blog in 2007. “What that meant, basically, was a classic geometric form.”
‘Save the Pentastar’
The demise of the Pentastar prompted Jack Bowen, of Brentwood, Calif., to create “Save the Pentastar” on Facebook on Oct. 20. To date, the page has attracted more than 6,550 likes.
“I started this page out of a pure feeling of true loss,” Bowen, an electrician who owns a 1969 Plymouth Road Runner, said in an e-mail. “This cause just seemed like one that needed to be started.”
In the 1980s, the Pentastar adorned the hoods of Chrysler’s minvans and cars and was stamped on the ignition keys. The logo on Chrysler’s cars today is a modified wing logo.
Fans of the Facebook page have posted photos of the Pentastar on keys, cars, and other parts.
Ed Garsten, a company spokesman, said the emphasis on the Pentastar has come and gone over the years and the company knew some would be disappointed with it being phased out.
“Some are unhappy about it and wistful about it and we’ve seen that on social media, and every sort of range of opinion about it,” Garsten said.
The Pentastar largely disappeared after the German automaker Daimler acquired Chrysler in 1998 but was revived in 2007 when Cerberus acquired the automaker.
“The company is changing again, and it is a choice that the company made,” Garsten said. “But we certainly understand people’s devotion to the Pentastar.”
Contact Brent Snavely: 313-222-6512 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @BrentSnavely.