Buick cuts Tiger loose

Posted by: David Welch on November 25, 2008

TigerWoods_01.jpg

At least there’s China. That’s about the only bragging point Buick has after breaking off its endorsement deal with Tiger Woods that says it’s not the stodgy moribund brand people think it is. For the past nine years, Tiger has cast a cool glow over GM’s Buick division as its pitch man. He won 14 majors in that time and has a clean-cut image and multi-ethnic background that crosses all kinds of boundaries. What’s more is that Woods made dozens of appearances a year for GM, more than he did for any of his other sponsors.

It was a great move for GM. Tiger isn’t just a sports star. He’s the sports star. Tiger is bigger than A-Rod, LeBron James or just about any athlete in any sports you can name. Buick locked him up before he was a megastar and resigned him four years ago reportedly on a five-year, $40 million deal. But budget cuts forced GM to whip out the ax. Buick will still sponsor the Buick Open in Grand Blanc, Michigan and the Buick Invitation at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, Calif. But as far as proving the brand is cool, being a hit in China might be the best claim the brand has.

Reader Comments

Paul (Vw)

November 28, 2008 3:20 PM

I'm surprised Tiger Wood's agent actually let him sell his name to Buick like that. Isn't it the responsibility of an agent to protect his client's image? How many models does Buick sell right now -- three?

In some ways, Buick hiring Woods is emblematic of how Detroit just doesn't get it. They should make cars that people want to drive...plastering the face of someone we would like to be able to play golf like...well that just doesn't make sense.

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Want the straight scoop on the auto industry? Our man in Detroit David Welch, brings keen observations and provocative perspective on the auto business.

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