Effective February 1st of 2011, the GM Goodwrench Service signs will disappear from the United States General Motors dealerships ending 37 years of the name’s usage for manufacturer-backed auto care and maintenance. Proceeding on from this upcoming February, the auto service and maintenance will be undertaken by brand identified Certified Service centers (For example, Chevrolet Certified Service or Buick Certified Service). In typical fashion with companies phasing out household names, the media announcement from GM only mentioned the ceasing of the Goodwrench name in the last two lines of a press release.
Established in 1974, the General Motors specialized maintenance and service spouted nationwide in 1977 as a source for certified mechanics. Starting in the 1990s, the GM service provider adopted the persona of Mr Goodwrench. The manufacturer-backed service departments later reverted back to GM Goodwrench Service, often adding the word ‘plus’ to their name.
the GM Goodwrench brand will forever be known for their presence in motorsports. Sponsoring one of NASCAR’s most iconic Cup race vehicles, a black and silver #3 Chevrolet was owned by Richard Childress Racing and piloted by NASCAR Hall of Fame legend Dale Earnhardt Sr. Together, the grouping won 4 NASCAR Cup championships (GM Goodwrench also had a smaller associate sponsor in 1987) and the 1998 Daytona 500. Replicated millions of times on scaled die-cast cars and printed countless more times on assorted NASCAR merchandise, the GM Goodwrench name still maintains close association to the now fallen Dale Earnhardt Sr.
When Earnhardt died as a result of a Daytona 500 crash in 2001, Goodwrench stayed on the Richard Childress Racing team but took on a different identity and number to due their connection to the driver. Kevin Harvick was trusted with the sponsorship during his difficult time bringing some joy with 2 wins on the 2001 season. In time, GM Goodwrench Service corporately would drop the black and silver colour scheme electing for a blue and white instead. It would also be the choice of the auto service provider to leave NASCAR altogether in 2007 ending the long marketing partnership.
Beyond Earnhardt an aggressive marketing campaign in auto racing saw the Goodwrench brand residing in smaller stock car series as well as in sports car racing. Prior to the Richard Childress Racing/Goodwrench affiliation, NASCAR rival Hendrick Motorsports fielded a Chevrolet Corvette GTP vehicle in sports car racing in the 1980s. Through the Hendrick-backed effort was not a big success, the GM Goodwrench name would ride again on GM factory-backed Corvettes in 1999. The Corvette Racing team would carry Goodwrench to victory at the 24-hour of Daytona in 2001. Like in NASCAR, the sponsorship would come to an unceremonious ending.
In the later years of Goodwrench, efforts were exercised to rebrand it with the before mentioned colour change with a decorative ‘G’ logo (which many liken to the Quicktime video player ‘Q’). This attempt was ultimately futile as many dealerships did not update their signage.
Vice president/general manager of GM Customer Care and Aftersales Steve Hill explains the name change as strengthening a connection with General Motors vehicle owners. “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.” Hill said. Under their dealership’s new Certified Service banner, General Motors promises a continuing commitment of qualified service technicians to customer services which includes using tools like OnStar.
Though the Goodwrench banner will be pulled in the United States, there could be life to the corporate name. For the time being, General Motors of Canada will retain the GM Goodwrench branding on their dealer service centers.
Information source: Automotive news, General Motors