Mark of Excellence

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The Mark of Excellence is an original copyrighted trademark penned by General Motors Corporation and as such relates less to quality than it does to advertising. First introduced at GM's pavilion at the 1964 New York World's Fair, the logo originally included the phrase "Mark of Excellence" at the bottom, and as a decal, it was installed on the doorjambs of General Motors' vehicles beginning in 1966. This logo also was stamped on the release buttons of seat belt buckles on GM vehicles from 1967 until 1996, as well as being stamped onto the ignition and door keys from 1969 up until 2002. Originally turquoise, the color was changed to a royal blue in 1968.

The phrase "Mark of Excellence" and its appearance on the logo was phased out by the late 1970s.

This practice is similar to that of Chrysler Corporation, which included small emblems of its corporate Pentastar logo on the passenger-side fender of Chrysler, Plymouth and Dodge automobiles in the 1960s through 1990s. A key difference is that the Chrysler Pentastar helped to identify the vehicle as being a product of the company while the GM "Mark of Excellence" was simply a marketing ploy regardless of and most often in direct contrast to actual product quality.

In 2005, It was announced that small silver emblems of the logo would be applied to the exterior of every 2006 GM vehicle. This was continued into 2007. A decision was made in August 2009 to stop using the GM "Mark of Excellence" badge on GM vehicles. It was agreed that with GM's post-bankruptcy focus on four core brands—and less of a focus on the GM brand—the relevance of the badge has diminished.

The phrase was sometimes used in a derogatorily ironic fashion, to highlight common failures on GM vehicles. For example, a large crack that would routinely appear in the dashboard of 1971-76 Chevrolet Impalas and Caprices would be referred to as the "Mark of Excellence". Additionally, Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, The "Mark of Excellence" was used to describe Chevrolet small block 350 and 305 cubic inch V8 engines, millions of which had on going and consistent camshaft failures with many occurring shortly after the brief 1 or 2 year factory warranty expired. The "Mark of Excellence" is also an award given by Chevrolet/GM to dealerships for superior sales volume and customer satisfaction.