GM parting ways with pitchman Tiger Woods
By Tim Higgins
Detroit Free Press
By Tim Higgins
DETROIT — General Motors Corp., racing to shore up its finances, announced yesterday that it has reached a mutual agreement with Tiger Woods to end the golfer's endorsement deal a year early.
Woods, who has won 14 major championships, has been the face of GM's Buick brand for nine years as the automaker tried to make the brand more appealing to younger customers.
GM said the cancellation is part of an effort by the automaker to save money and by Woods — who is expecting his second child this winter — to have more personal time.
The automaker has said it could reach minimum levels of cash needed to sustain operations by the end of the year and is seeking a loan from Congress.
Mark LaNeve, GM's North American vice president of sales, service and marketing, cautioned in a statement not to connect the move with GM's efforts to win help in Washington.
"This decision is the result of discussions that started earlier in the year, and the timing of this agreement with these other activities is purely coincidental," LaNeve said in a statement.
The endorsement deal ends effective Dec. 31. GM's contract with Woods had been set to expire Dec. 31, 2009, according to GM spokesman Pete Ternes.
Woods issued a written statement through GM, saying he is proud of the partnership he had with GM.
"We've had a lot of fun together and I participated in some unique and rewarding activities," Woods said in the statement. "We will maintain strong ties with the many people at GM we call friends."