The unmistakable blue oval that graces millions of Ford Motor Co. products worldwide no longer sits atop the automaker's world headquarters in Dearborn, MI. In a heavily debated move, the more than 50-ft. long Ford oval, which has adorned the "Glass House" since the late 1960s, was quietly stripped from the 12-story building in late May, slated to be replaced by the Ford Motor Co. script "trust mark."

Ford first signaled the move late last year when it issued Christmas cards featuring the headquarters with the scripted sign, rather than the big blue oval (see WAW - January '00, p.29). But that only fueled debate. A recent survey placed the blue oval as the second most recognized logo in the world, behind only Coca-Cola, and many insiders question the wisdom of dumping a badge so widely known. Some contend each brand can stand on its own and that an umbrella name or "trust mark," as the company likes to call it, is unnecessary.

But others feel it's time to divest the company of its roots. They say the oval has outlived its usefulness, has become too middle class and doesn't give the right impression to customers who shop Jaguar, Volvo, Aston Martin or Land Rover, among Ford's premier auto group brands. The Ford Motor Co. script - not plain old blue oval Ford - now will be the umbrella for all of the company's products and services.

Ironically, two new blue ovals were purchased and placed atop the Regent Court building, the new home of the Ford Div. that's just down the road from the Glass House.