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NEW YORK, April 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Oldsmobile unveiled its new company logo today, Thursday, April 13, at the New York Auto Show. The new emblem is significantly different from the previous "rocket" logo and represents changes underway within the company and its retailers.

"We're raising Oldsmobile's product and customer satisfaction efforts to a higher standard and the new logo signifies that change," said John Rock, Oldsmobile general manager. "With the support of solid market research and open responses from the public we are confident that this is the right logo for Oldsmobile."

Working closely with the GM Design Center, Oldsmobile asked its designers to explore new symbol ideas for the division -- a symbol that would reinforce Oldsmobile's rebirth while retaining a connection with Oldsmobile's proud heritage.

Heading the design team, Oldsmobile's Executive Designer Bill Scott appreciated the challenge, "A logo is a symbol of a company, what it stands for and how it wishes to be identified. A radical change of a company logo demonstrates a radical repositioning of that company."
 Logo Supports Changing Product Focus

The first evidence of product repositioning hit the road in the form of the 1995 Oldsmobile Aurora. The car was an unquestionable hit among consumers and automotive critics, with over 30,000 units sold through March.

With complete product lineup redesigns underway, Oldsmobile began to focus on how its logo supported this new lineup. In logo research sessions, customers were shown new product designs, not identified as Oldsmobiles. Participants were also shown a set of logos including the current "rocket" logo.

"Consumers were very clear that the current rocket logo was inconsistent with our future products," Scott said. "Oldsmobile is making a dramatic, positive change that the current rocket logo just doesn't communicate."

After reviewing the results, Oldsmobile selected the logo that fit most appropriately with the new lineup and placed it on the Oldsmobile Antares, a midsize concept car that debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Antares was named "Concept Car of the Show" by AutoWeek magazine.
 New Designs Capture Public's Emotions

In addition, candidate logos were submitted to the public for comment and scrutiny via various publications, including, among others, the Automotive News, Chicago Tribune, Lansing State Journal, Detroit News and AutoWeek.

The "Antares" logo was the first choice in three of the five publications. Public response also tapped many readers' emotional ties to Oldsmobile.

"People associated with Olds, whether they are employees, dealers, parts managers, sales people or service representatives, are awfully proud of the division," wrote Phil Frame of the Automotive News. "They like Olds' distinctive heritage."

Passions also ran strong in Lansing, Mich., Oldsmobile's hometown, where many suggested that the best logo change was no change at all. But overall, the most visionary comments were from those who selected the "Antares" logo.

"There's a nautical influence (a 12 meter tacking aggressively through the surf, making the most of the wind) ... Oldsmobile is evolving," wrote a Michigan resident.

Another from New York recognized Oldsmobile's rocket heritage, "It symbolized the launch, orbit and return to earth ..."and a Missouri respondent wrote that it was "a completely new, contemporary logo for a company that is becoming more and more contemporary."

A few even offered logo philosophy: "For a company to have been around almost 100 years, things will be updated from time to time" wrote a reader from Chicago.
 Oldsmobile Insignia Continues To Evolve

Counting the design announced today, Oldsmobile has made five major changes in its logo. The first was a crest with "Oldsmobile" banner; then a "Winged Spur" crest; a ringed earth and rocket; and most recently, variations of a rocket. Each logo brings to mind famous Oldsmobiles of the past (see attached photos).

"We had one fender in the grave a few years ago and, real or not, the experience was enough to convince us we had to make big changes if we were going to survive another century," John Rock said.

"Oldsmobile's Centennial Plan calls for new products aimed at customers who appreciate the quality and design of imports and who expect a hassle free, pleasurable, car buying and owning experience. The Aurora is a good start, and we must continue to deliver products that meet those expectations."
 Rollout Helps Prepare For Centennial

Oldsmobile chose to announce its now logo today in order to allow for gradual changes in preparation for Oldsmobile's centennial in 1997. The logo will soon begin appearing on Oldsmobile internal and retail documents. Company home and field offices and retail facilities will replace the old logo with the new as soon as possible.

In 1996 the logo will begin appearing in advertising, promotional merchandise and new car window stickers. The first vehicle to wear the new logo will be Oldsmobile's redesigned 1997 Silhouette, followed by a midsize car entry. All other car and truck lines will follow as new products enter the marketplace.
 The New Oldsmobile Emblem

Designers of the logo (GM Industrial Design Studio) believed it should have a contemporary, international appearance. This led to a horizontally oriented, open oval shape incorporating the rocket heritage form, positioned at an angle, signaling a new direction for Oldsmobile. The rocket pierces the oval, suggesting Oldsmobile is going outside the boundaries -- beyond the conventional. The non-symmetrical shape of the logo represents Oldsmobile's originality and the distinctiveness of our future products, -- Bill Scott, Executive Designer, Oldsmobile Studios.
 Emblems Of The Past

Oldsmobile logos appeared in various forms inside and outside its vehicles throughout the division's 98-year history. Many of these emblems were "company" logos while others were developed for a particular vehicle, its name or attributes.
 The First Oldsmobile Emblem 1900-1928

The florid crest including the "Oldsmobile" banner appeared on Oldsmobile's earliest vehicles including the Curved Dash. Oldsmobile built 425 of these vehicles in 1901 making Olds Motor Works the first mass producer of gasoline automobiles in the world.
 The "Winged Spur" Emblem 1929-1948

This crest included many elements symbolizing Oldsmobile's increasing prominence in the automobile industry. The winged spur at its center represented harnessing horsepower; the acorns acknowledged Oldsmobile as a seed that helped grow the automobile industry. Also included is the Lamp of Knowledge and micrometer and a triangle signifying research, exactness and precision. This crest would continue to be used on various models and hub caps.

The Winged Spur appeared on such vehicles as the 1934 Oldsmobile Six Touring Coupe complete with "trunk, built into the body." In 1939, Oldsmobile would introduce 1940 models with the industry's first fully automatic transmission.
 The "Ringed Globe" Emblem 1949-1958

With the new sheet metal and mechanical components of the late forties, the company symbol became a ringed globe with heavy emphasis on various rocket forms to express power.

This emblem appeared on Oldsmobile's first official pace car of the Indianapolis 500. The Series 88 was powered by the industry's first high compression V-8 engine, aptly named the "Rocket 88."
 The "Rocket" Emblem 1959-

Buoyed by the popularity of the Rocket V-8, the rocket emblem became the company logo and adorned Oldsmobile's lineup as the division became the nation's number three auto seller in 1975.

Perhaps the most notable products to wear the rocket were the Oldsmobile Cutlass, which became the nation's best selling nameplate in 1976, and the Toronado, which pioneered a high-volume domestic front-wheel-drive system.
 -0- 4/13/95

/EDITORS' ADVISORY: Photo accompanying this release is available on AP PhotoExpress Network -- see photo PRN3. Also, a free photo to accompany this story is available immediately via Wieck Photo Database to any media with telephoto receiver or electronic darkroom, PC or Macintosh, that can accept overhead transmissions. To retrieve a photo, please call 214-392-0888. PRNewsFotos also are available via PressLink. Please call 703-758-1740 for additional information./

/CONTACT: Pete Ternes, 517-377-6287, Gus Buenz, 517-377-4430, or Miriam Carroll, 517-377-5661, all of Oldsmobile/


CO: Oldsmobile Division; General Motors Corporation ST: New York, Michigan IN: AUT SU:

TO -- DE021 -- 7256 04/13/95 13:21 EDT
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Date:Apr 13, 1995

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