MacManus To Drop Olds Dealer Work

DETROIT-The Alliance for Automotive Marketing, the automotive retail unit of The MacManus Group, is resigning its dealer business from General Motors’ Oldsmobile division to focus solely on expanded responsibilities for its Pontiac-GMC dealer accounts.
The Olds accounts include dealer groups in Detroit, St. Louis and Phoenix, and are responsible for about 20 percent of the Alliance’s billings, said Mark Gjovik, Pontiac-GMC group account director at D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Troy, Mich. After resigning the Olds business, Alliance billings will be about $40 million, said Gjovik, to whom the Alliance reports.
The agency’s relationship with Olds will be phased out gradually by early 1998, Gjovik said. Olds officials have indicated that they and the dealers are trying to decide to which of the other Olds agencies they want the business moved, he said. It appears unlikely there will be a review, he added.
The Alliance, headquartered in Albuquerque, N.M., was formed in January when The MacManus Group merged DMB&B’s Detroit Automotive Retail Team with J. Wilson & Associates, a major GM retail agency in Albuquerque that the company had acquired. DMB&B is the national agency for the Pontiac portion of the Pontiac-GMC division, as well as for GM’s Cadillac division.
Jay Wilson, Alliance managing director, said resigning the Olds business will help focus the agency’s strategic direction while it handles new markets picked up in the recent Pontiac-GMC reviews. The agency is the second-largest Pontiac-GMC dealer shop, handling both Pontiac and GMC business in the Pacific Northwest and GMC business in the Great Lakes and Southwest regions.
“This focus will enhance our efforts to understand both the national and regional marketing issues and to interpret them in ways that help our retailers sell product while supporting the overall brand message,” Wilson said.
Shortly after the conception of the new entity, GM’s Pontiac-GMC division consolidated the list of agencies handling dealer business and put all of the business up for review among those “select” shops. The Alliance fared well in the subsequent reviews, picking up several new pieces of business, Gjovik said.
“Clearly, Pontiac-GMC is where our priority is,” he said. “It’s where most of our business in the Alliance is and it naturally jibes with where we are as a national agency. We’ve got new business there we have to develop and cultivate, and that’s just a lot of where our focus will be. We just didn’t think we could continue to provide that same level of focus with Oldsmobile in light of how the Pontiac-GMC plate had grown in terms of opportunity and responsibility.”