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General Motors sends Mr. Goodwrench to sidelines

DETROIT — General Motors is asking Mr. Goodwrench to pack up his toolbox.

The mechanic who served as the symbol of GM’s dealer service brand for 37 years will be scrapped as of Feb. 1 in favor of “certified service” brands for each of GM’s remaining four remaining nameplates, the company said Tuesday.

GM dumped four brands as it went through bankruptcy protection last year and now sells only Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac.

The Detroit automaker has been focusing its marketing efforts for the past year or so on brands rather than the corporate name because customers know the brands better than they know General Motors.

Mr. Goodwrench started in 1974 to give a common identity to service for all of its dealers and brands. The character started out as a friendly looking mechanic in a crisp light-blue shirt and evolved into a drawing of a brawny man in a striped work shirt hoisting the brand’s blue G-shaped logo.

Mr. Goodwrench became well-known over the years, but was disconnected from GM and its four brands, said spokeswoman Pamela Flores. The new strategy, she said, will link buying a car with service so people have a good ownership experience.

Steve Hill, vice president of customer care and after-sales services for GM, said the move “is more than a name change.”

“It is a declaration of our commitment to our customers,” he said in a statement.

The company said the change will come with increased service adviser and technician training and more work on customer satisfaction, with hopes that the customers will return to the dealers for service.