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General Motors to drop Goodwrench brand in the United States

Mon, 08 Nov 2010

UPDATED -- General Motors Co. is dropping the GM Goodwrench car mechanic brand in the United States as the company moves to redirect the marketing emphasis around its four core vehicle brands, the company announced.

The long-standing Goodwrench brand--used by GM dealers to promote vehicle repair and maintenance services--will be replaced by Chevrolet Certified Service, Cadillac Certified Service, Buick Certified Service and GMC Certified Service, GM said in a statement released Monday evening.

GM marketing chief Joel Ewanick wants the vehicle brands, not corporate, to be the stars of GM, and that includes service and repairs, said one source familiar with the new campaign.

“This is another part of the effort to clear out brand clutter,” the source said.

The phase-out is effective Feb. 1 in the United States, the statement said. The brand will remain in Canada where it still holds some cachet, the source said.

“Certified Service supports GM's strategy to focus on the four brands--Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac--and is a natural extension of the customer's vehicle purchase experience at the dealership,” Steve Hill, vice president and general manager, GM Customer Care and Aftersales, said in the statement.

The brand, launched as Mr. Goodwrench in 1974, was once a household name when GM was a much bigger automaker. The name, which GM changed from Mr. Goodwrench to Goodwrench Service Plus in the '90s, also was a major sponsor of NASCAR racing--including Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s car--for several years until it dropped its involvement in 2007.

Goodwrench was promoted to customers as the assurance that trained technicians would service and repair any GM vehicle brought to a GM dealership using GM factory-made replacement parts.

But in recent years, many of GM's 4,500 dealers failed to use the Goodwrench signs at their stores or put the logo in advertising, the source said.

By David Barkholz and Philip Nussel- Automotive News