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GM To Drop Hallowed Corporate Logo

Now, this really is a sign of the End Times of Corporate America: General Motors said today that it plans to gradually begin phasing out the globally known "GM" corporate logo starting next year.

This logo -- a simple sans-serif, capital GM with an underscore, white letters on a blue field, which you can see by clicking here -- was applied to half of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. in the 1960s when the automaker was at the peak of its powers and ruled the U.S. road.

The idea is to de-emphasize the brand of General Motors -- which emerged from bankruptcy earlier this year -- and begin emphasizing its individual remaining brands: GMC, Chevrolet, Cadillac and Buick.

For decades, GM called its logo "the mark of excellence," which sadly became a bad joke in the '70s and '80s (Vega, Chevette, Cadillac Cimarron, etc.).

The news was first reported in the Wall Street Journal and confirmed by The Ticker.

The logo appears to have made its debut in the early 1960s, showing up at the 1964 World's Fair on the "Futurama" exhibit, which GM sponsored.

This is a bittersweet moment in American corporate logo history for The Ticker. The Ticker's father was an Oldsmobile man, a line GM discontinued in 2004. (Three years after life discontinued The Ticker's father. Good thing he never lived to see the day Olds died.)

Every two years, The Ticker's Dad bought a brand-new, white, four-door Oldsmobile Delta 88 with a blue interior. Two years later, after he'd put 75,000 miles on it, he traded it in for...a brand-new, white, four-door Oldsmobile Delta 88 with a blue interior. It was a watershed moment in the house of the Young Ticker when he talked Pop into buying the Delta 88 with the vinyl Broughm roof and power windows.

Emblazoned on all those Delta 88s was the GM logo, which Dad drove proudly. It was one of the formative corporate logos of the Young Ticker.

But that was another lifetime ago. Just like the one GM leaves behind with its logo.

-- Frank Ahrens
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By Frank Ahrens  |  August 25, 2009; 4:36 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Delta 88, GM, General Motors, Oldsmobile  
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Dealership property could make nice micro brewery PubLove. How about that?

Posted by: Dermitt | August 25, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Just goes to prove the old saying, "What's good for GM is good for the country." Buh-bye.

Posted by: hisroc | August 25, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

No excuses. Equality face to face is a certainty. PubLove! Do I need to trademark that? Need a lawyer, I guess. I need lots of stuff. Always need more capital and beer. I don't need GM and according to the numbers I am not alone. I'll always love the Pub, so we're getting personal. You need a Pub Watch Washington Post. Whatever you need as they say.

Posted by: Dermitt | August 25, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Keep the logo. Change the color, do it in a chrome finish like the ones they place on the exterior of the cars, but dropping the logo altogether would be like abandoning the marques of General Electric or Coca Cola.

Remember New Coke, General Motors? This will likely go over just as well. Americans want stability right now. This is not the right time for such a radical move and such an in-your-face reminder that GM has been forced into bankruptcy. Keeping the logo would have been reassuring that the company is stable and on a steady course.

VERY bad idea.

Posted by: hyperlexis | August 25, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Just because GM had problems doesn't mean everything about GM - General Motors, that is - is bad. Does anyone think that as soon as the logo is gone that people will flock to the showrooms and say "gimme one of those..." and point to a whatever? Are GMC vehicles going to be renamed because... uh, simply because?

It's a good symbol, it's clean and it's clear. Some things are better off left alone.

Posted by: Dungarees | August 25, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

A quick PubLove logo. Needs some refinement, but it's a start.

Posted by: Dermitt | August 25, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

'Tis an excellent logo, you GM execs. Ford is still Ford, even after the Edsel. It's not the GM logo's fault that you made some boneheaded decisions, and built more SUVs than we wanted to buy. Nothing wrong with the "brand" called GM. Keep the logo.

Posted by: SolarWind71 | August 25, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Having owned a Chevrolet, a Cadillac and a Buick I can attest to the statement that somethings are better left alone.

Posted by: whocares666 | August 25, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Somethings are better and others require an EZlay
At your service. Take the gun, leave the clunker.

Posted by: Dermitt | August 25, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Why not make Obama the new GM logo? Then we can all bow when we see his face!

Posted by: PalmSpringsGirl | August 25, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Gotta agree with PalmSprignsGirl -- need a huge O M on the front, sides and rear of every vehicle that comes out of Obama Motors.

Posted by: Tupac_Goldstein | August 25, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

I even remember the GM logo on my grandmother's Fridgidare.

Chrysler did something similar a few years ago by de-emphasizing the famous "pentastar" except at the corporate level in favor of individual name badges on the cars. Life went on, and it did not make much difference. (I grew up in a 2nd generation Chrylser family, and my parents bought a new maroon Chrysler New Yorker every two years).

Posted by: rlr_ex_nova | August 25, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

another "futureama" idea, without merit, by the folks who now run(into the ground) GM! the salvation of GM lies in making good, saleable and profitable vehicles and not in making empty, profitless and unsaleable propaganda. I was a GM customer for many years. I for one will be sorry to see that iconic symbol disappear. so will many others. rest in peace!

Posted by: murray1 | August 25, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Egads....Changing a logo is EXPENSIVE! Design fees, but also all that stationary, all that signage, etc. Millions upon millions.

Put that money into the design of cars! Have vehicles on the market that are well-engineered and move the heart-&-soul. And not so many different ones...consumers are dizzy with options. Give us fewer but more unique. People follow design - check Apple, check Ferrari - and engineering - check Apple, check Porsche.

No one cars about logos at this stage.

Sadly, this is an example of Old GM thinking: "Change the logo, and they will come."


Posted by: JonyDirk | August 25, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Who cares??? Take off the "G" and replace it with an "O".
As "OM" goes - so goes the country!!!

Posted by: thornegp1 | August 25, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

I think they had to change it. Too many bloggers calling them "Government Motors", which of course they are.

For a smart guy, Obama really does some amazingly bone-headed things. Too many bone-headed things.

Posted by: hill_marty | August 25, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Who cares??? Take off the "G" and replace it with an "O".
As "OM" goes - so goes the country!!!

Posted by: thornegp1 | August 25, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Awwww...I always liked the GM logo! It used to be the button for the seatbelts in some of the cars...such a pretty metallic blue button it was, too.

Posted by: clydaho | August 25, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Gotta agree with JonyDirk. Changing a logo is expensive, superficial, and pointless. If this is the kind of "new" thinking we can expect from a "new" GM, I'm not too optismistic.

Posted by: carlaclaws | August 25, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Dropping the logo after dropping the ball? Isn't it a bit too late?

Posted by: TalkingHead1 | August 25, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

I think it's a mistake. I think GM should stick to their guns, keep the GM logo, and pull their socks up and get about the business of providing economical transportation as well as heavier equipment for commercial application and industry, just like they've done so well for generations, now. The reason you can find old GM and Chevy vehicles is because they hold together over time, and the reason they hold together over time is because they were well-constructed to begin with. Even if they change their logo, which is just a little piece of plastic anyway, they should strive to retain the good lessons learned, as well as the harder ones, and not be too hasty to abandon their post. The federal government and the american taxpayer just went in the hole umpty-billion dollars to haul their chestnuts out of the fire, now they're embarassed by their logo? Logos aren't responsible for keeping the books balanced. A new logo with the same shady bookkeeper will proudly announce future failings and give 'new Coke' GM a negative household name.

The reason that GM went into hard times is because GM became a bank that also built cars. GMAC financing, GMAC insurance, GMAC mortgage, all that jazz. Their corporation go taken over by the same SOB's that ran everyone else into the ground. Nice job, SOB's! Maybe New GM will actually require its' execs to spend a minimum amount of time per month on the factory floor, ACTUALLY talking and WORKING with...their employees, instead of outsourcing or handling them through the Human Resource office. Maybe next year, overpaid, haughty, high n mighty execs will outsource themSELVES, and appoint a copy of Quicken in their stead. Or, maybe all their paid talent will just walk, go buy up an abandoned warehouse somewhere, and build their OWN brand of cars...hmmm...(chin scratch)

Posted by: walkerbert | August 25, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

I just started Operation Homefront. This could take a good long time. Generations. It looks like a long night.

Posted by: Dermitt | August 25, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

I used to love those big GM 99's 98's and Caprice Classics--the big ones! Of course, I was too young to drive them and never had to buy gas for them. But they were great cars for riding in the back seat and falling a sleep in on the way home from grandma's house. Can't say that about a Saturn or "Cobalt", whatever that is.

Posted by: PepperDr | August 25, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

That was back when sleep was possible along with profit. Now it's all for the losers and losers for all.

Posted by: Dermitt | August 26, 2009 3:43 AM | Report abuse

Out of sight, out of mind?

An obvious business tactic meant to hide the tarnished brand from potential customers/exploited taxpayers.

Posted by: brianrushtonphillips | August 27, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

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