Louis Chevrolet bust in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland

Sure, we think of Chevrolet as an American automaker. One of the most American, at that. But its eponymous founder wasn't born in these United States. He was born in Switzerland. La Chaux-de-Fonds, to be exact, and so to celebrate the brand's 100th centenary, it has commissioned a local artist to erect a statue of Louis Chevrolet in his hometown's Parc de l'Ouest.

The giant polished steel bust was created by budding artist Christian Gonzenbach, whose design was selected by an international jury from among four finalists. Measuring five meters (16.4 feet) tall, the oversize bust was commissioned by General Motors and will remain in the park as a permanent tribute to the man whose name has become an international fixture in the automotive industry and a veritable household name. Press release after the jump.
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LOUIS CHEVROLET HEADS HOME TO LA CHAUX-DE-FONDS IN STYLE

- Emerging artist Christian Gonzenbach wins Chevrolet centennial art competition
- Artwork will become permanent landmark in co-founder's birthplace

La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland – A giant, polished-steel bust will grace the Parc de l'Ouest in La Chaux-de-Fonds and remind visitors of Louis Chevrolet, one of the Swiss city's most famous sons.

The sculpture, designed by Christian Gonzenbach, has won the Chevrolet centennial art contest. The competition was initiated on November 3, 2011 – the 100th anniversary of the legendary American car brand. An international jury selected Gonzenbach's design as the best of four highly creative entries. His proposal won out against the submissions handed in by Lang/Baumann, Costas Varotsos, and Olivier Mosset and Sylvie Fleury. The spectacular artwork will be erected in the centrally located Parc de l'Ouest in La Chaux-de-Fonds.

"Christian Gonzenbach has created a work of art which the jury found the most emotionally engaging of the four unique proposals. His approach is as pioneering as the man who founded the Chevrolet brand. The visual complexity and ever changing reflections will make this piece of art very intriguing," said Susan Docherty, chairwoman of the jury and president and managing director of Chevrolet Europe.

"Many thanks to the jury for the confidence they have placed in me and my project. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to artistically express the pioneering spirit of 100 years of Chevrolet and carry forward the dynamism that Louis Chevrolet embodied throughout his life," said Christian Gonzenbach, artist from Geneva, Switzerland.

The initial idea of the 5-meter high Chevrolet bust began with the story of the man, the man whose name became a hallmark around the globe. The figurative abstract sculpture will stand the test of time and remain interesting for generations to come. Its reflections mirror the dynamic personality of Louis Chevrolet and the city life that surrounds it.

"We are very grateful for this generous donation by Chevrolet that will create a landmark to attract tourists, art lovers and car fans to La Chaux-de-Fonds," said Laurent Kurth, councilor of La Chaux-de-Fonds.

"Gonzenbach has created an experimental approach to the traditional art genre, the bust. I am very glad that we, the jury, selected this young and upcoming artist and I am convinced we will see many more outstanding works from him in the future," said Hans Rudolf Reust, art critic and President of the Swiss Federal Arts Commission.

The winning artwork commemorates one hundred years of one of the world's best known car brands and expresses the values for which Chevrolet and its Swiss born co-founder have become known in 140 countries around the world: a pioneering spirit of innovation, a profound sense of optimism and the passion to make the most out of life's opportunities.

The assignment is managed by Friederike Schmid, an experienced project manager for site-specific art projects. The Chevrolet Centennial Artwork concludes a series of initiatives that marked the hundredth birthday of the world's fourth largest car brand. During its centennial year, Chevrolet launched seven new entries in Europe. The product offensive continues with two further models being introduced this year.

For more information on the competition please visit the Chevrolet centennial artwork microsite.

About Chevrolet
Chevrolet is General Motors' largest global brand with annual sales of more than four million vehicles in more than 140 countries. It is the fourth biggest global car brand in terms of sales and also one of the fastest growing brands in the world. Chevrolet cars combine bold design, performance, innovation and practicality. They provide outstanding value for money. Established in the U.S. by Swiss émigré Louis Chevrolet in 1911, the brand celebrated its centenary in 2011. The brand was re-launched in Europe in 2005. It is represented with a total of 2,500 sales and service outlets in Western and Central Europe. The European Chevrolet line-up includes the Spark city car, the small Aveo sedan and hatchback, the compact Cruze sedan and hatchback, the Orlando family van, the Captiva SUV, the legendary Camaro and Corvette sports cars and the extended-range Volt electric car. In 2012, Chevrolet is launching the Cruze station wagon and the Malibu mid-size sedan. More information on Chevrolet can be found at www.chevroleteurope.com or media.chevroleteurope.com.