GOODWRENCH ROLLS FIRST ADS IN 2 YEARS: GM WILL SPEND $20 MIL TO TOUT UPGRADED SERVICE

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General Motors Corp.'s Service Parts Operations is rolling out its largest national ad push for what is now called Goodwrench Service Plus.

Hoping to reverse a slide of service business at its dealerships, GM will spend an estimated $20 million in media through December for its first Goodwrench advertising in two years.

The blitz is Goodwrench's "first real launch ever," said Kelly O'Neill, advertising manager of GM's Service Parts Operations.

EMPHASIZING SERVICE

The first of four TV spots from D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Troy, Mich., breaks Sept. 1 on NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

The tag, "The Plus means better," is meant to emphasize improved service at participating GM dealerships. Print and radio support.

One TV spot features Goodwrench-sponsored Nascar driver Dale Earhardt, who asks his crew during a pit stop whether their work is guaranteed. "Are you kidding?" a crew member responds. "Do you think this is GM Goodwrench Service Plus?"

Mr. Earhardt and Goodwrench-sponsored National Hot Rod Association Pro Stock driver Warren Johnson will tour participating dealerships this fall touting the brand.

SATISFYING CUSTOMERS

GM's move comes at a time when consumers are said to be more satisfied with treatment and service at non-auto dealer service facilities. A J.D. Power & Associates report this spring said car owners feel they save time and money by going to non-dealers for auto service and maintenance.

Auto dealers are losing almost half their customers by the fifth year of car ownership to non-dealer service facilities, the report said.

They're losing share of the $44 billion auto aftermarket to such chains as Pep Boys and Penske Auto Centers, said Bill Lovejoy, VP-general manager of Service Parts Operations. Goodwrench Service Plus should improve consumer loyalty and attract more customers, he said.

In market testing of the program, GM dealers nearly doubled their service and parts revenue, said Gar Smith, general sales manager.

So far, only 2,045 of 8,500 GM dealers have agreed to participate in the

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