Consumer Confidential: Adios, Mr. Goodwrench; Evian turning Japanese; Southwest cuts fares around peak holidays
Here's your take-on-me Tuesday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:
-- The latest victim of the recession: Mr. Goodwrench. General Motors says the company's mascot mechanic is packing up his toolbox and being shown the door after 37 years of service. In his place, GM will offer "certified service" for its remaining brands -- Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac. Mr. Goodwrench started in 1974 to give a common identity to service for all of GM's dealers and brands. He 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. Now he's unemployed.
-- To some, a bottle of Evian water is like a little taste of France. But maybe not for much longer. Evian's owner, Groupe Danone, is reportedly in talks to sell its bottled water business to a Japanese company. Kirin Holdings is said to be interested in the well-branded beverage, along with Suntory Holdings and Asahi Breweries. So it's entirely possible that the next bottle of Evian you drink will offer a little taste of ... Tokyo. Maybe with a sushi platter.
-- Is some travel in the cards? Our friends at Southwest Airlines are cutting fares around peak travel days this holiday season, but not including those days exactly. The airline says fares are available nationwide starting at $59 each way. Prices are available with a 14-day advance purchase through Nov. 22, the Monday before Thanksgiving. Fares are good for travel between Dec. 1 and Dec. 16, and between Jan. 4 and Feb. 16. That can be a good deal if you're not a stickler for details, like being with the family on specific holidays.
-- David Lazarus