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DONNA HARRIS

GM will be sorry it sent Mr. Goodwrench packing

Donna Harris covers automotive retailing for Automotive News
General Motors is terminating its service brand as if Mr. Goodwrench was an old employee who hasn’t kept up with the times and won’t submit to retraining.

But down the road, GM will likely regret giving Mr. Goodwrench a pink slip, and here’s why:

1. Mr. Goodwrench is an old, established brand. It took time and millions of dollars to build that name. To kill it is a waste of that time and money. A recognized brand name should be updated, not eliminated.

2. Mr. Goodwrench is recognized as an automotive repair and maintenance brand -- distinct from the new-vehicle brands in GM’s stable. Dealers operate out of protected sales and service areas. I would argue that their biggest competitors for the customer-pay work they crave aren’t same-make dealers but independent garages and chains like Jiffy Lube and Pep Boys.

In killing this brand, GM is firing a trusted master technician with many years under his belt. With the right promotion, Mr. Goodwrench could help GM dealers whip Manny, Moe and Jack.

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