GM gives Mr. Goodwrench a pink slip
General Motors opts instead for separately branded 'certified service' for its Chevy, Cadillac, Buick and GMC lines.
There have been a lot of changes at General Motors since its 2009 bankruptcy filing, subsequent government bailout and current plans for an IPO. In less than two years the company has shed 900 dealers, about a dozen auto plants and a number of brands, including Pontiac, Hummer, Saab and Saturn.
Though GM has purportedly pulled out of its tailspin and claims it has returned to profitability, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still big changes in the works. The latest business division on the chopping block is the car’s dealer service brand.
That’s right, after 37 years, Mr. Goodwrench is getting a pink slip.
The fictional mechanic, a symbol of GM's repair and maintenance divisions since the 1970s, will be rebranded Feb. 1 in favor of "certified service" divisions for each of GM's remaining remaining nameplates: Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac.
- Related Article: 3 shocking facts about GM's stock offering
The marketing ploy is intended to connect the brands with their customers and hopefully provide an uptick in service revenue for the automaker and its related dealerships.
But the real question is whether it will actually move the needle or is just change the illusion of progress for the once-dominant auto brand.
- Related Article: Will Netflix destroy the Internet?
It’s true that in these tough economic times motorists are driving older cars longer and the demand for parts and service has increased dramatically. Just look at auto parts stocks -- AutoZone (AZO) is up 53% year to date and just reported its fiscal-fourth-quarter same-store sales increased a hefty 7%, while Advanced Auto Parts (AAP) is up 63% so far in 2010 and saw its fiscal-second-quarter earnings leap 40%!
But at its core, this trend is a move toward being more frugal, and pricey dealership service may be passed over for cheaper repairs performed at local shops.
And as for brand loyalty, that seems to be a bit of a myth in the current economic environment. Most cash-strapped consumers are looking for the best deals and best value right now, and that’s true for all items, from dishsoap to dishwashers.
The reality is that in the short term, the loss of Mr. Goodwrench probably won’t pay dividends. The branding move appears to be little more than posturing for the upcoming GM stock IPO.
hey carzar: I agree with fdmarshall. I have had nothing but poor service for my pontiac solstice GXP. 19 trips mulitple issues (32 appx) multiple return visits and even the regional rep didn't want to get involv ed in the repetative SES Light issue. All during warranty. Poor training poor service lack of initiative and lack of support from GM itself to the dealers. it all spell a poor company and product. one more SES light and the Lemon law will prevail.
Attorney is on standby now. Even GM upper level support has taken an "oh well, we'll get it fixed someday attitude" hoping i sell it or waiting for the warranty to expire
Yep - let us all hope GM goes under. Never mind all the jobs that will go with it. Never mind all the money those employees would have spent to help the economy.
Appears that many morons want to destroy Obama so bad that they are willing for the country to slide deeper in the recession.
Are these the same morons who diss Obama and the Democrats for not creating more jobs? Time for these morons to consider how many jobs they saved by not allowing GM to go under.
Kia isn't building cars in a sweatshop. They're building them in Georgia, just like Ford does. And Toyota is building cars in Kentucky, just like (Yep, you guessed it...) Ford does. In neither case are the employees crying about being enslaved by their employer.
Without a doubt, unions had a time and place. The problem is that the time has since passed. My father was a Teamster and shop steward. He actively worked to get them into non-union companies, with some success. Even he thinks the unions have outlived their usefulness.
As for the video being on a FOX affiliate, it doesn't matter who caught them. The facts back up their assertion. Chalk one up for FOX. Too bad the other guys couldn't get off their backsides long enough to beat 'em to it...
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for buying American when it's a competitive product. However, I (as well as many others) am not going to "hold my nose" and buy an American stinker. For far too long American business depended on people doing just that. That's why they're having so much trouble convincing potential buyers that they've really made themselves competitive. There are quite a few examples that they've succeeded, but perception is everything. You know the saying, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." Lots of people are wary of being living examples.
The Chinese people are the best customers that the Buick brand has. More Buicks are sold in China than the rest of the world combined. In fact, the growth in exports of American-made cars is far outpacing imports. I hope it grows exponentially. Foreign buyers aren't trying to get over the "buyer's remorse" that so many Americans are.
As for my business, I get paid by both domestic and foreign companies. As long as they pay the bill on time, they're keeping me and my employees fed, clothed and housed. I've never had anyone ask me where their paycheck came from, and I don't expect it will happen anytime soon.
Oh, and my business and its jobs cannot be exported, whether it's an import or an export. That means we're doing our bit (either way) to bring in that much more foreign currency to our shores. I call it a "win, win" situation. I wouldn't complain if it was more export, than import, though...
Raysawzzzt said: "Did you see the piece on the Chrysler union workers a couple of weeks ago? About how they spend their lunch hours? Drinking and doping it up!!!!! Then going back to work and building quality American cars."
Capt. America83 responded: "If you believe that crap then you must still believe in Santa Clause"
I, just one of many, believe it. Take a look at this... www . autoblog . com /2010/09/23/ chrysler-uaw-employees-work-hard-play-hard-bus /
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.
Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.
Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.