Dieter's inner circle

To the editor:

Dieter Zetsche has stabilized Chrysler ('Dieter's Inner Circle,' July issue, Page 16)? Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-hah! Chrysler's mid-sized cars are currently better than Mitsubishi's, and to downgrade them to a Galant is a joke.

A large car based on the E class is also nuts. Try driving a new E class or M class and then a BMW equivalent and see what I mean. The current Concorde and LH models ride well, are quick and economical. It's the design that doesn't sell well. It's the same for Stratus and Chrysler's other models, except for the PT Cruiser. The Prowler and Viper don't sell enough to make a difference but do a lot for corporate image.

And more trucks? They'll have to go a very long way to pass Ford and General Motors. Chrysler's survival is 'iffy' at best - and only if they can come up with enough niche cars like the PT Cruiser.

Vince D'Agostino

Honesdale, Pennsylvania, USA

Doing business in China

To the editor:

This is in reference to the article 'ASEAN region is safe haven for investors' (May issue, Page 33) by Michael Dunne and the July letter to the editor by Rebecca Cullinan. Much has been talked about how to do business in China and the so-called Chinese ways of doing business. Having just finished a three-year assignment in China, I believe the success of a Chinese business still largely depends on the business fundamentals: product, marketing and financial discipline.

Dealing with local governments and business partners is an important factor in running a business, but by no means are they the determining factors. These are considered as part of the business environment or external factors. When you run a business in China, focus on the internal management and adapt yourself to the local business environment. Isn't this the same as running a business in any part of the world?

Ken J. Cao

Marketing manager

Magneti Marelli Powertrain USA Inc.

Farmington Hills, Michigan, US

Sad state of union

To the editor:

The issue of declining union membership is not isolated to the United States ('Sad State of the Union,' June issue, Page 36). It is apparent in the United Kingdom as well.

I worked at Ford for many years before coming back as a contractor and was amazed at the attitude toward unions by some co-workers. They wanted the benefits, but at the first sign of possible industrial action, left it in droves. Apathy rules, but I think the union could do a lot more to promote itself.

Steve O'Connell

Supply-Chain Coordinator

Visteon Europe MP&L

Trafford House, England

Hand of man

To the editor:

I read your article on Chris Bangle, the so-called 'designer' for BMW ('The Hand of Man,' May issue, Page 34). Since he moved there, not a single design has come out with grace and equilibrium. The Z3 is nothing to write home about. It had to have a redesign almost as soon as it appeared. BMW had to correct the imbalance between the elongated front and timid back.

The Z8 is as heavy and unpleasant as it can be, while the X Coupe could play a role in a remake of the horror movie Nightmare on Elm Street. Ugly is ugly in any idiom. Has Bangle run out of ideas? Yes! If he can say with a straight face (about the X Coupe), 'We know where we are going and we are showing it,' he is a very proud, very stupid guy.

Angel J. Barreiros

Consultant, Quant International

Miami, Florida, USA

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