By Steve Lynch on December 4, 2015 A Photoshop vision of the future.
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The practice of removing a car’s emblems, or upgrading the emblems to a higher-line model, probably dates back to all the 1960s Mustangs sporting “289 High Performance” fender tags despite having lesser powerplants under their hoods. Los Angeles-area high-line dealers were the first to nickname the current generation of rebadged and debadged vehicles as “Persian Conversions,” although the trend is not limited to any one specific demographic. We covered this phenomenon in these pages a couple of years ago. Amazingly, it look likes we now have the first factory-backed badge-removal option. To presumably save their owners the floss-and-hair dryer hassle of doing the job themselves, Mercedes-BenzUSA will now allow you to order a no-cost “Badge Deletion” option on the 2016 C63 sedan, GLA 45 CUV and AMG GT. Specifically, these cars will have their model name and “AMG” tag deleted from the trunk — only the three-pointed star symbol will remain — and the C63 will also have the “AMG” emblems removed from its fenders. (Error Message to MBUSA: On the C63 page on your website, the option description says “Let your AMG C450’s performance do the talking with the discreet deletion of its rear decklid model emblems.” No such option is shown on the AMG C450 page.) Give Mercedes-Benz credit for reacting to a trend before any of its competitors. They obviously do not endorse any rebadge-engineering by customers, but since it happens anyway, why not charge $100 for the deletion option on the entry models like the C300 and charge them $250 for a C63 emblem through the dealers’ parts departments instead of the current $25? ClassicBMW rebadge engineering: look close to see the shadow of the old 325i emblem.
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You have to wonder about the motivation of these posers, like the owner of the above Bimmer. Do they not realize that 99 percent of the population (OK, maybe 90 percent in LA) do not know or care about the price and prestige difference between a 325i and an M3? Upgrading emblems may be, um, emblematic of some sort of personal shortcoming. Perhaps some customers are annoyed by the fact that a lot of hi-po German hot rods already look nearly identical to the entry-level variants, so why not debadge simply for a cleaner look? A few years back, some high-end Audi owners in Germany were removing their emblems in order to disguise their wealth. I doubt that is the case here in America, and again most observers would have not know the difference. In Southern California, debadging and rebadging is so widespread that we must conclude that the reason is nothing more than some drivers just wanting to be like the cool kids. I say let’s end all this madness and bring back the dealer-installed gold-plated emblems from 1980s-era Honda Accords! We can’t wait to hear about the first AMG enthusiast to order this option and wait eight weeks for the car to arrive, only to discover that the dealer’s make ready department had bolted a metal “XYZ Mercedes-Benz” emblem in the space where a deleted tag once stood.