The Car Geek: The Return Of The Pentastar

The Car Geek

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Return Of The Pentastar

If you would ask your grandfather what was the emblem of Chrysler during their days, I’m sure he would say that it is just the same as of today. That is if he knows that the Pentastar is now being used again by the automaker as their corporate logo. The Chrysler logo that you may be familiar with is that winged logo with the medallion in the center. That was actually used on Chrysler vehicles starting in 1994. But before the use of that logo, there was the Pentastar.

As the name suggest, it has five sides. I’m sure you have seen this logo already. The logo was first used by the company in 1962 but was shelved in favor of the winged emblem. The history of the Pentastar started when then Chrysler President Lynn Townsend was looking for a corporate logo that can be sued on packaging, stationery, signage and others. The Pentastar was chosen because it can be easily recognized even without the word Chrysler beneath it.

During the initial use of the Pentastar, it was widely believed that it represents the five divisions of the company during those days. The five divisions are Plymouth, Dodge, Chrysler, Imperial, and Airtemp. But this is not the reason for the design of the Pentastar. In fact, only a year later since the adoption of the emblem, the company was left with three divisions which were Chrysler-Plymouth, Imperial, and Dodge.

The Pentastar became an icon since it was used on all the vehicles made by all the company’s divisions. Dodge back then uses the Fratzog logo. The use of this was phased out in favor of the Pentastar. The first batch of vehicles to sport the Pentastar includes those made under the brands Valiant, Plymouth, Dodge, Chrysler, Imperial, Hillman, Humber, Sunbeam, Singer, and Simca. Even trucks made by Fargo, DeSoto, Dodge, Commer, and Karrier use the Pentastar.

After the ‘failed marriage’ between Chrysler and German automaker Daimler-Benz, the American auto group was acquired by Cerberus. After the acquisition of the carmaker, Cerberus announced that Chrysler will have a new CEO in Robert Nardelli. This means that Tom LaSorda, the former CEO will now be the number two man in the company.

Just like General Motors and Ford, Chrysler is also facing a tough time. Whether the logo change will help them or not remains to be seen. The arrival of the new CEO is also something that the auto industry is observing. Will Nardelli be what Carlos Ghosn was to Nissan? Can he save the company that he now heads? We will know the answer soon I’m sure.