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Francois Defends New Chrysler Badge


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Francois Defends New Chrysler Badge

By Eric Mayne

WardsAuto.com, Nov 23, 2010 9:00 AM

LOS ANGELES – Badges? We don’t need no badges!

So says the famous line from “Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” And when it came to new badges, the quote also could be attributed to previous Chrysler brand managers.

Enter Olivier Francois, installed last year as president and CEO of Chrysler Group LLC’s core brand when Fiat Automobiles SpA took management control of the U.S. auto maker.

Francois says he had no compunctions about ditching the iconic gold circle and black sash that for decades formed the heart of Chrysler’s winged logo.

“We had a lot of badges in the past,” Francois says on the sidelines of the L.A. Auto Show. “We needed a badge that would embody the new Chrysler, even more stylish, more contemporary and more aspirational. I think this one delivers on those requirements.”

The new badge features the word “Chrysler” on a blue background, flanked by stylized silver wings. The auto maker also is showcasing the badge in bolder fashion by mounting it on body-color surfaces.

The previous badge was integrated in shiny trim pieces and less apparent.

It’s only logical to design a new badge, considering Chrysler’s new direction, Francois tells Ward’s.

“We are totally redefining the Chrysler brand,” he says. “It’s not about luxury. It’s about aspiration.”

Badge now placed on body color for greater impact.

Unique wheels, restyled grilles and sculpted hoods are among the hallmarks of Chrysler’s new design language.

Ultimately, the goal of Francois and his team is to “bridge the gap between aspiration and ownership, which by the way, is the definition of the American dream.”

A Chrysler insider tells Ward’s the transition from the gold-centered badge was met with unanimous approval by the brand’s marketers. “Gold is old,” he says, adding silver is fresh and regarded as more fashionable by younger consumers.

The metals market bears out this observation. While gold is hitting all-time highs, the price of silver is rising more rapidly.



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