Goodbye, Mr. Goodwrench

GM to focus on core brands, abandon its auto repair line.

by on Nov.09, 2010

The Goodwrench name was long associated with GM racing sponsorships, especially NASCAR.

General Motors has sidelined thousands of workers since its bankruptcy, last year, and though it has begun rebuilding its job rolls as sales improve, the maker has decided to make at least one more cut: Mr. Goodwrench.

The long-familiar figure, the symbol of the company’s dealer service operations, is being retired as of February 1, 2011.  First hired on three decades ago, the Mr. Goodwrench brand is being set aside to allow for more specific brand-related “Certified Service” operations for each of the four automotive brands, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC, that survived last year’s run through Chapter 11.

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“Our No. 1 priority is providing a world-class ownership experience that creates positive long-lasting relationships with our customers,” said Steve Hill, GM’s vice president for customer care and after sales.

The move doesn’t mean General Motors – or its dealers — are cutting back on the service side of their business.  Anything but; along with financing and insurance, and used car sales, that’s where most retailers actually make their money.  In recent years, selling new cars has often proved a showroom’s loss leader.

But GM now believes that it needs to focus on the core automotive brands rather than confusing matters with another name.

Born in 1977, in an effort to create a unified brand that could capture used car service business away from independent repair shops and service chains, Mr. Goodwrench has become a familiar fixture to TV viewers.  And not just through television commercials.  Comedian and talk show host Jay Leno featured a character, Mr. BadWrench, the evil twin of Mr. Goodwrench.

And the GM service brand was a key NASCAR sponsor from 1988 to 2005 – which meant a long association with the sport’s dominant driver, Dale Earnhardt, during six of his seven Winston Cup victories.

GM briefly tried sidelining Mr. Goodwrench once before.  The character – played by Stephen Colbert, now a Comedy Central host – was revived in 2003.

But considering the significant changes GM is making across its operations, it now seems likely the Goodwrench character – and brand – will vanish for good.

Dealers will learn more about the new service strategy during a web conference on Wednesday.

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One Response to “Goodbye, Mr. Goodwrench”

  1. phxmotor says:

    About time. Most of America has been laughing about Mr Goodwrentch for years. Broken cars on the moon and similar senarios don’t bode well for selling reliability. While Honda and Toyota advertised reliability GN insisted upon selling a symbol of failure. Selling repairs never sold new cars. GM,s failure over the last 30 years can be directly tied to the use of Mr Goodwrentch. Good riddance. Should have been done years ago.

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