MACMANUS FORMS UNIT FOR GM BIZ: ALLIANCE TO WOO DEALER GROUPS

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MacManus Group, angling for more General Motors Corp. dealer group business, formed a new agency to exclusively handle and pitch the groups.

The Alliance for Automotive Marketing combines the holding company's existing GM dealer teams at D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Troy, Mich.; J. Wilson & Associates, Albuquerque, N.M.; and N.W. Ayer & Partners, New York.

Alliance hopes to grow its $50 million in billings from its business with 100 Pontiac, GMC and Oldsmobile dealer groups.

BIGGER REGIONS, BIGGER BUDGETS

Tens of millions of dollars are at stake on Pontiac-GMC. The division is in the process of cutting its list of 11 select dealer group agencies-probably to six-and forming bigger regions with bigger ad budgets. DMB&B is a Pontiac select shop and the auto marketer's national agency.

Ayer acquired Wilson last spring, and both Ayer and Wilson are among GMC's four select shops; Ayer is among seven select shops for Oldsmobile.

Jay Wilson, managing director of Albuquerque-based Alliance, wasn't available for comment.

Alliance may have an uphill battle scoring more Pontiac wins since some dealer groups don't want the national agency doing regional ads.

FROM AYER TO MARTIN

Detroit-area GMC dealers just switched their estimated $10 million account Jan. 1 from Ayer back to Martin Advertising, Birmingham, Ala. Martin had the account before GMC named its select shops in 1995. Although Martin was named a Pontiac select shop, it didn't make GMC's list. Under Pontiac-GMC's current consolidation review, all Pontiac select shops can pitch GMC dealer groups.

Oldsmobile hasn't announced a similar dealer agency consolidation. But dealers and executives of GM select agencies said they expect Olds to follow the pattern started by Chevrolet last year. And GM hasn't ruled out a marriage of the Olds and Cadillac divisions down the road.

Alliance can't pitch Chevy. But look for it to woo more Cadillac work if the luxury car division takes Chevy's route. Cadillac doesn't have select shops, but

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