GM Deepens Marketing Cuts, Ends Tiger Woods Deal

The dramatic cuts in General Motors' marketing efforts continued Monday as the once-dominant carmaker ended a nearly decade-long relationship with the world's dominant golfer. GM said it won't renew its deal with Tiger Woods, a long-time Buick endorser, when it expires at the end of the year.

GM said that the sides reached a "mutual and amicable separation," partly sparked by Woods' desire for more family time as he awaits his second child--but also due to "the search for budget efficiencies during a difficult economy for General Motors."

The move underscores how bare things have become in the marketing arena at GM. While major budget-slashing has been ongoing, shedding relationships as potentially valuable as the one with Woods would seem to be a matter of last resort. Of course, Woods' large endorsement fee may have simply become cost-prohibitive for the more-than-struggling automaker.

Mark LaNeve, a GM executive with marketing oversight, said the seeds of the end of the link with Woods started before GM's recent round of troubles.

"In light of the news coming out of Washington," LaNeve said, referring to issues involving an auto industry bailout, "this decision is the result of discussions that started earlier in the year. The timing of this agreement with these other activities is purely coincidental."

He added that Woods has been "a fantastic asset through the years helping to bring consumer awareness to many new GM products."

Woods, who has won 14 major titles and is expected to resume his chase for a 15th at the Masters in April, has been a GM spokesman for nine years.

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