Mr. Goodwrench has been officially pronounced dead -- but don't look for an obituary. Instead, look for General Motors to quickly rename its maintenance and repair programs with titles relating to its four core vehicle brands -- Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, and GMC.
Although the Goodwrench branding has been in place for nearly three decades, GM announced will drop it effective February 1, 2011. Instead, the company will implement new Certified Service marketing tied to each specific brand. Although this eliminates a consistent brand for GM's dealer service operations, sources close to the automaker tell Automotive News the move is designed to "clear out brand clutter."
"Certified Service supports GM's strategy to focus on the four brands, and is a natural extension of the customer's vehicle purchase experience at the dealership," said Steve Hill, vice president and general manager of GM Customer Care and Aftersales, in a prepared statement. "This is more than a name change. It is a declaration of our commitment to our customers, with exclusive vehicle diagnostics and connectivity via OnStar, competitively priced services and parts, increased advisor and technician training, and working jointly with our dealers to focus on customer satisfaction."
The Goodwrench brand was born as Mr. Goodwrench in 1974, as part of an initiative to promote vehicle service and maintenance performed by franchised GM dealerships. In the late 1990s, GM dropped the formal title from the name, simply referring to the service organization as Goodwrench Service Plus. Arguably, the brand had the most visibility in the late 1980s and early 1990s, as it served as the primary sponsor of Dale Earnhardt's NASCAR entry.
Although the change is effective come February, it seems some dealers may be ahead of the curve. According to Automotive News, many of GM's 4500 dealers neglected to use Goodwrench branding either at their service facilities or in advertising. Interestingly, dealers in Canada are spared the switch, and will continue to market service parts and maintenance under the Goodwrench brand.
Source: General Motors, Automotive News (Subscription required)