For an extra $550, Mercedes-Benz owners will now be able to enjoy the latest in LED lighting technology, now that a customed LED-illuminated Mercedes logo is available as an option. The logo will stay lit for 40 seconds while the car is unlocked and for five seconds while the doors are open. US regulations prohibit it being illuminated while the vehicle is in motion. Expect this to be very popular with C250 owners, much like the infamous “Bentley grille” was with base-trim Chrysler 300 models in the middle of the last decade.
The de-Ramification of the Dodge brand took another important step today, as Dodge previewed its new Ram-free logo. Similarly, the new 2011 Durango (on which the updated logo appears) has also had the Ram taken out of its Rama-lama-dingdong… er, technical underpinnings. Once a big BOF bruiser, the Durango has had a unibody makeover along the lines of Ford’s Explorer, making 2010 the year of the Cross-retro-ver. But will the old SUV brands remain relevant after becoming poster boys for automotive and cultural excess back when gas prices spiked? More importantly, does anyone actually like the new Dodge badge?
The Orlando Sentinel reports that “a couple of years ago,” Seminole County’s Lake Mary High School made the curious decision to ditch its previous mascot (now known as “the old goat”), and adopt the Dodge Ram logo as its own. Chrysler only just found out, thanks to a local tipster, despite the logo’s presence on gym floors, t-shirts and athletic uniforms. Needless to say, a cease-and-desist showed up, and Lake Mary will be having to live with “the old goat” from now on. As Chrysler’s lawyer puts it [via Overlawyered]:
As I am sure you can appreciate from your years of work with the board, control of use of a mark by enthusiastic students and parents is quite simply not practical, and I know the school and board would not want to be in the position of censoring student expression associated with the design,
Managing debt is a most American exercise, and after finishing the third quarter of this year owing $26.9b in debt, Ford is in management mode. According to Reuters, Ford will repay $1.9b of its $10.7b “mother of all subprime mortgages” revolving credit line, part of $23.5b in loans Ford backed with all of its assets (up to and including its logo) in 2006. $7.2 billion of revolver debt is being pushed on down the road though, from November 2011 to November 2013, and $724m has been converted to a term loan due in December 2013. More worryingly, lenders refused to roll over $886m of the debt Ford requested, bringing it due in December 2011.