By on August 25, 2009

The Detroit News reports that GM is removing its “Mark of Excellence” badges from its entire lineup, starting with the new Chevy Equinox. “We are just really focused on the four core brands and this provided us with another opportunity to make sure they were at the forefront,” say GM spokefolks. “Plus people on Twitter were making fun of them.” Okay, so the last part is made up. Still, about time, no? As industry commentators never tire of mentioning, consumers don’t buy GM as a brand, they buy Chevys, Buicks, Cadillacs and GMCs. Okay, they buy Chevys. Anyway, what’s the point of having four separate versions of every platform if there’s a badge reminding everyone that they’re all basically the same? Don’t answer that, it’s a rhetorical question. Instead, hit the jump to learn how to de-Mark of Excellence your ride.

Flickr user X-Caiver explains:

The main steps are to heat the badge up with the hair dryer, which makes the double-sided foam tape loosen up, and then to use the floss to cut it.

The trick with the floss is to go slow, pulling it like you were trying to saw through the foam. You need to also be pulling the floss away from the car so it is rubbing against the bottom of the badge and not the car at all.

This took a few minutes, alternating between heat & floss and snapping a few pieces of floss as it got shredded by the bottom of the logo.”

Once it’s off, clean up the area with microfiber chamois and some WD-40. Congratulations! Your Chevy now has no visible signs of the corporate mothership. It’s almost as if there weren’t extremely similar versions of the same vehicle being sold as Buicks and GMCs now. Almost.

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59 Comments on “GM “Mark of Excellence” RIP...”


  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    No small change, I heard these stickers cost over $10 million/year to implement. As they’re a bad use of taxpayer funds, I say get rid of them.

  • avatar
    26theone

    Havent tried dental floss but have previously used 20 lb. fishing line and it works well. Also used goo gone to remove the left over tape on the vehicle. Takes about 5 minutes tops.

  • avatar

    It wasn’t many years ago that they decided to add these to the cars. Anyone remember which model year?

  • avatar

    Flip-Flop

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    I actually liked them…I also like the blue GM logo on the sill plates and the Body by Fisher from the days gone by, too. But then again, I never bought a new GM so my vote doesn’t count…

  • avatar
    Samuel L. Bronkowitz

    // which makes the double-sided foam tape loosen up //

    Probably just the rantings of an old geezer here… but really, the fact that it is attached with tape… doesn’t that really tell it all? I’m quite sure that the ’57 Chevy didn’t have its badges affixed with tape.

    Mark of Excellence. Pffft.

  • avatar
    urS4red

    Almost as much fun as removing the AMF sticker from my 79 Harley.

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    Michael Karesh: GMI says the Mark of Excellence nonsense started in the 2006 model year.

  • avatar
    dean

    Samuel: foam tape /= double-sided carpet tape.

    3M makes some structural double-sided foam tape. If GM had used that, you wouldn’t be taking off that badge without taking the paint with it. I’ve used the stuff before – it is seriously strong stuff. Don’t knock the tape, man!

  • avatar
    210delray

    The GM “chiclets” were added in the latter part of the 2005 model year.

    Everyone uses double-sided tape for their badges now. It’s better than the old method of drilling holes into the sheetmetal, which could lead to rusting.

  • avatar
    slateslate

    ***It wasn’t many years ago that they decided to add these to the cars. Anyone remember which model year?***

    2006MY G6.

    http://www.gminsidenews.com/forums/f70/gm-removing-mark-excellence-badge-products-83344/

    I’m sure if you find the TTAC or autoblog or whatever comments section from that announcement, they’ll be plenty of rantings at the lameness of the idea.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    If they were smaller, they could have repurposed them as cufflinks for Cadillac drivers.

  • avatar
    PaulieWalnut

    An article criticising the addition of the ‘Mark of Excellence’ was the first thing I read on TTAC. If my memory serves me right, that would mean that GM decided to started putting these things on cars in the summer of 2005.

  • avatar
    windswords

    ALL manufacturers (import and domestic) used to screw their badges and nameplates on. This led to cars getting rust around the holes.

    ALL manufacturers (import and domestic) today use adhesive. No rust, cheaper, less labor, and it works. The badges and nameplates are made of plastic. They won’t rust either, but they can peel or de-laminate over time. Something about advancing technology I think.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    I remember the elegant Body by Fisher plaque that festooned the sill plate of GM cars until the 70s. My Dad would say, “You can’t beat a Fisher body.” Then GM took it away, just like they took away the Oldsmobile Rocket V8 and all the other touches that made their cars special in buyers’ minds.

  • avatar

    I used hot water to remove those on my Astra. Then with a little effort they just fall off. The “goo” left over just wipes off.

  • avatar
    akear

    After the bailout they may think the GM name is tarnished. They also think people are stupid enough to think Chevrolet is not a GM product.

    Whatever transpires GM is headed for a 15% marketshare no matter what they do.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I remember the elegant Body by Fisher plaque that festooned the sill plate of GM cars until the 70s. My Dad would say, “You can’t beat a Fisher body.” Then GM took it away, just like they took away the Oldsmobile Rocket V8 and all the other touches that made their cars special in buyers’ minds.

    To be fair, the whole point of those badges was rendered moot by GM’s brand-destroyers a while before they were actually removed. Body By Fisher was slapped on some awful pieces of crap during the 1980s.

  • avatar
    VerbalKint

    “Mark of Excellence”… You can only hear the punchline of a joke so many times before what was once funny becomes irritating. About time it was sent into the Milton Berle file.

  • avatar
    carm

    This was a decision by the executive committee? Out of all the problems @ GM, this what they had to discuss? It’s called delegation folks, you clearly don’t understand it. The old culture is alive and well.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    I vote that we ‘repurpose’ these badges by sending them all back to Corporate HQ and tiling the executive washroom with them.

  • avatar
    kamiller42

    GM “Mark of Excellence” to be replaced by “Mark of Shame” badge.

  • avatar
    texlovera

    The “Mark of Excellence” long ago morphed into Scarlet Letters.

    Now it just denotes you as “The Mark”

  • avatar
    Daniel J. Stern

    So the Mark of Excrement that was added to every vehicle to show off the reinvention of GM’s image is now being removed to show off the reinvention of GM’s image.

    I cannot wait for ChristyGarwood to chime in here.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Ironically, the whole fender badge idea seems to have been cribbed from that other Detroit stalwart of quality, Chrysler. Leave it to GM to turn those little pentastars on Chrysler product right front fenders (back in the day when they actually meant ‘Extra Care in Engineering’) into a bad joke.

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    Dadburnnit- Daniel J. Stern beat me to the “Mark of Excrement” gag.

    Been using that baby for years.

    Glad I don’t have any vehicles that have these to be removed.

    Bunter

  • avatar

    Why stop there? Why not remove all of the badges that remind you that your GM car has been prostituted to each and every division?

    Take em all off.

  • avatar
    Accords

    Jeez…

    I remember exactly the first time I heard about these stupid badges..

    And actually saw these damn things on cars.

    First of all..
    Who in their right mind, DOESNT CONNECT a SAAB, Chevy, GMC, Hummer, Buick, Caddy, Olds, Buick, Pontiac, Saturn with Generic Motors?

    I am however, always amazed at how many corporate decisions went into this. Its placement on every car, its thickness, its size. And having a supplier pump the little molds into these forms.

    I cant even guess.. how much this little thing costs.. GM.

    Its stupid shit like this.. that aggravates me when even mentioning GM.

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    Probably just the rantings of an old geezer here… but really, the fact that it is attached with tape… doesn’t that really tell it all? I’m quite sure that the ‘57 Chevy didn’t have its badges affixed with tape.

    I’m glad debadging my ’02 TrailBlazer didn’t involve having to weld a bunch of little holes in the sheetmetal and painting it. I’ve left the ones on my ’08 so far, but that might not last forever.

  • avatar
    John R

    Finally.

    Why would I want to buy a $40k Caddy that has the same “mark of excellence” as Pontiac G3? I don’t ANY reminder of that.

  • avatar

    If I recall correctly, the Mark of Excellence logo first appeared on GM’s 1967 models and was used for almost 30 years before going on hiatus; GM resurrected it in 2006.

    Originally it was GM’s hasty (and obvious) response to Chrysler’s pentastar logo, which had been created three years earlier by the corporate identity design firm Lippincott and Margulies. The pentastar chiclet made its debut on the right front fenders of Chrysler Corporation’s 1965 models.

    Which begs the question: Did Henry II have something against them, or did he (for once) make a smart decision when Ford opted out of the Chiclet Wars?

  • avatar
    mikey

    I’ve been out detailing my 09 Impala today. That
    GM emblem on the Chevs fender is the same one that used to be on my pay check. I guess you could say its on my pension deposit also. I know for a fact it was on my retirement incentive check. I was always proud to be a GM employee. I’m proud to be a GM retiree,and I’m really proud to drive a GM vehicle.

    So you know what? Its gonn’a STAY on my car!

  • avatar
    Buick61

    Michael Karesh:

    This iteration of the badge was announced in April of 2005. The first recipient was the 2006 Pontiac G6, which began production that same month.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    The_Imperialist:

    The pentastar chiclet made its debut on the right front fenders of Chrysler Corporation’s 1965 models.

    I believe that the chicklets actually first went on the 63s. This was the beginning of the Lynn Townsend renewal at Chrysler (before the Lynn Townsend debacle of the mid 70s).

    I never understood the purpose of the 1963 chicklet. I’m not sure that it was based on the same reasoning as the later Iacocca diktat that every Mopar vehicle sport a pentastar on the rear of the car. Iacocca’s purpose was to make sure people saw how many Chrysler-built vehicles were on the road, to take a small market share company and make it look as big as possible. The right front fender pentastar was nearly inconspicuous, however.

  • avatar

    @ jpcavanaugh:

    I believe that the chicklets actually first went on the 63s. This was the beginning of the Lynn Townsend renewal at Chrysler (before the Lynn Townsend debacle of the mid 70s)

    You are correct; the pentastar debuted on the 1963 models. I regret the error.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Wow, New GM is actually doing a smart thing. Not a big thing, but overdue. The whole GM branding campaign was stupid from the start, especially since you can’t generally get Chevy warranty work done at a non-Chevy “GM” dealership.

    “I’m quite sure that the ‘57 Chevy didn’t have its badges affixed with tape.”

    The ’57 also had crap tires, worthless brakes in the rain and steering which could at best be called approximate.

  • avatar
    ChristyGarwood

    @ Daniel Stern, you flatter me by singling my opinions out about the headlights! Thanks!!! Maybe you should re-read all of the comments and see that my opinion was not a lone voice.

    I unintentionally hit one of your basic buttons – which one was it (reference “Virus of the Mind”) fear, flight, food or ?

    My personal opinion of the GM badge on every car back in 2005 was “What is GM’s marketing group up to now?”, when it was announced to employees.

    Rumor has it, despite all of the knowledge displayed on this site by its commentators and readers, there are marketing studies that show a significant population of car buyers that really don’t know which brands GM produces or that a Lexus is a Toyota.

    Theoretically, in 2005, they would gladly buy Hummer, Saab, Saturn, Pontiac, Buick if they had only known it was GM… I personally have never seen the studies.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Right John Horner…And a nice 57 Chevy will fetch 6 figure money today. Whats a 57 Volvo worth or a basic Mercedes? Was Toyota around? Did Datsun have a product then?

    I’d take a 57 Chevy any day,and I will turn more heads,and impress more people,then any of the imported crap we see today.

  • avatar
    rnc

    I actually always thought the most impressive thing in a GM car was the metal seatbelt latch with the GM button.

    In my dad’s 80-81 caddy (that the interior, put together like a snap together model, started falling apart after about 3 weeks)

    In his 83 Olds 98 Diesel (his last GM car, after however many from the late 50’s (-) one MB brought back from Germany and disposed of after the first service bill)), I myself loved it, about 30 warning lights and bings that had to go off before you could start it, seemed technically advanced.

    The cars were crap, but man that was an impressive looking seatbelt latch, if GM had been like Kohler and designed thier cars around those, they would have been alot better off.

  • avatar
    GarbageMotorsCo.

    Will the savings go towards paying back the 50 billion dollar loan or will it just pay for more golden parachuttes that it’s execs are taking to retirement?

    The “GM – Mark of Excellence” was one of the biggest oxymorons of the past decade.

  • avatar
    Power6

    there are marketing studies that show a significant population of car buyers that really don’t know which brands GM produces or that a Lexus is a Toyota

    I an sure this is true, though you expose it like it is a surprise. The GM badge was perhaps an answer to the wrong question.

    Does it matter if nobody knows that a Lexus us a Toyota? When I told my Mom that Acuras are Hondas she calls them all “fancy Accords” now. She might have switched from Audi if I hadn’t clued her in. I haven’t gotten around to explaining the benefits of platform sharing to her. Lexus and Acura are probably good studies in bulding brands, no “by Toyonda” squares required.

    they would gladly buy Hummer, Saab, Saturn, Pontiac, Buick if they had only known it was GM… I personally have never seen the studies.

    I wonder if they studied how many sales they would have lost if only those people knew it was a GM.

    Personally I think they should work on building the brands, any brands, rather than worrying about which ones to focus on.

    Will they be replacing the GM chiclets with US government “Mark-of-bailout” badges??

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    rnc :

    The cars were crap, but man that was an impressive looking seatbelt latch, if GM had been like Kohler and designed thier cars around those, they would have been alot better off.

    The latch may have “appeared” impressive, but if you were a kid in the summertime, you got plenty of 1st degree and 2nd degree burns from that damned thing.

    I would venture to say that the scalding hot latch may very well have been the beginning of GM’s downfall. Stop hurting the children, I say. After all, they are the next generation of car buyer…

  • avatar
    Tommy Boy

    I’m surprised that they didn’t get in trouble with the Federal Trade Commission; putting “Mark of Excellence” on any GM product sure sounds like consumer misrepresentation to me.

    The new logo on each vehicle should be the IRS logo, since each week the IRS is taking money from each and every one of us to keep the GM / UAW circus on the road.

  • avatar
    njoneer

    Lutz:
    “I voted for the Mark of Excellence before I voted against it.”

  • avatar
    Stunned_BB

    @rnc:
    Impressed with that old seat belt latch. You can go to the RenCen today and buy one with an attached nylon belt for your jeans at the Detroit stuff shop. I bought one for each of my kids. Probably the coolest and most reliable product GM has produced.

  • avatar
    Stunned_BB

    @Michael Karesh:

    When I remove the chiclets from my 07 Suburban does that get reported as a “major repair?” Or is it just considered an “after-market improvement?”

  • avatar
    derm81

    there are marketing studies that show a significant population of car buyers that really don’t know which brands GM produces or that a Lexus is a Toyota

    At one time I refused to believe this. Sadly, it is a true thing. My fellow Americans aren’t the sharpest consumers.

  • avatar
    stepon

    Maybe yall should replace those GM badges with those patriotic flag pins. What moron would buy a GM product then remove a badge of American decline? I say wear it like a red badge of courage, a symbol of sacrifice to the greater good, or of your ignorant enabling of a lumbering dinosaur. Removing it though is just pathetic.

    In the least, new GM saved on their collateral material. Can’t fault them for that…though Chevy Motor Co has an ironic flair.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Thankfully they decided against defacing Saabs with these things. Or did the 9-7x get them?

  • avatar

    The latch may have “appeared” impressive, but if you were a kid in the summertime, you got plenty of 1st degree and 2nd degree burns from that damned thing.

    Don’t remind me :D

    Those things were a bear to touch, let alone unbuckle, in the summer heat. Plastics FTW on that front!

  • avatar

    Samuel L. Bronkowitz Probably just the rantings of an old geezer here… but really, the fact that it is attached with tape… doesn’t that really tell it all? I’m quite sure that the ‘57 Chevy didn’t have its badges affixed with tape.

    Not that I’m an old geezer, but it was the exact thing I said to myself after that line; “Couldn’t they have stamped in on? Or into the door itself?

  • avatar
    MBella

    The reason a 57 Chevy can be worth more than six figures is because they are rare. One of the better sold cars of the day is now rare. It must have been its great build quality.

    The adhesive badges are a way better design, because they don’t create a hole into the body. When ever you make a hole into the body, you invite a place for water to get into when the now necessary seal deteriorates. I have never seen a badge that has been glued on from the factory fall off any car including GM. I have seen many of the ones that used screws or clips rust off.

    Going back to the original post, it was a stupid idea. It would be like all Audis, Bentleys and Porches getting Volkswagen badges on them, Lexuses, Infinitis and Acuras getting Toyota Nissan and Honda badges on them, Ferraris and Maseraties getting FIAT badges on them, etc…
    It just doesn’t make sense. What is the point of even having brands at this point. Why not just have generic GM vehicles.

  • avatar
    Tommy Boy

    >It just doesn’t make sense. What is the point of even having brands at this point. Why not just have generic GM vehicles.

    Actually, doesn’t that bring us full circle, since GM has been peddling badge-engineered generic GM vehicles across its “brands” for some decades now?

  • avatar
    rudiger

    jpcavanaugh: “I believe that the chicklets actually first went on the 63s.”Well, sort of. I read where it was a midyear, running change and Chrysler actually had a TSB to retrofit early 63s with the fender pentastar for those cars that left the factory without them.

  • avatar
    raast

    Taking into consideration the old joke that this was actually a typo and was supposed to say “Mock of Excellence”…

  • avatar
    newsie23

    When did the Chev Bowtie change from Blue to Gold?

  • avatar
    yankinwaoz

    I always wondered why GM started doing that. I think they got their idea from Intel with those stupid “Intel Inside” stickers they put on your computer.

    They could change them to “GM Inside” stickers and put them on the bumpers.

  • avatar
    ceipower

    I can remamber when GM decided some years back to begin installing these GM logo’s to all their cars. If was a stupid idea at the time that just showed how GM was unwilling to tackle their core problems and continue to play the smoke and mirrors game with the products they were hoisting onto the market. Removing the logo now pretty much says the same thing. Did a 1 inch square logo attached to GM products make any difference? Will removing it make any difference? GM can do nothing that will get me into the fold after personally suffering thru decades of poor design and advertising/marketing bologna. New Camaro SS convertibles at $1,500.00 couldn’t get me into the showroom. How can you trust these guys? Their own record says you can’t.

  • avatar
    boyphenom666

    Lookie what I found!

    The “Mark of Excellence” is even gone from signage:

    http://www.gm-dileasing.com/signsforlease.htm

    (Check out the new Buick-GMC and Cadillac sign panels while you’re there.)


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