Army off-limits story takes off

Our story about the U.S. Army declaring a chain of Arizona dealerships near Fort Huachuca off-limits to soldiers continues to generate sharp debate.

In a second day of comment, Eagle 1524 says, “The apparent practices of this dealership are what give reputable dealers a tarnished public perception.”

Two writers who identified themselves as dealers named in the story objected to Automotive News coverage. One says: “The writer did the same thing every other reporter that needed a headline did and completely misquoted not only our statements but the facts that surround the situation.”

The other argues that 30 complaints to the local Better Business Bureau in three years when the dealerships sold 6,000 vehicles represent a 99.5 percent customer satisfaction rate.

That writer adds: “Bottom line, car dealers must hold everyone’s hand through the car buying experience.”

Others posting comments are not sympathetic. Wrote one: “Come on, you ‘forget to renew’ the financial license for two years? (these are) classic sleazy used-car sales tactics that reflect badly on the whole industry.”

Based on “first-hand experience, Ford Retiree says the Army barring a post from specific dealerships “takes a monumental amount of research and verification before that pronouncement is made.”

No magic wands

Several readers are commenting on Publisher Keith Crain’s column “Waving a magic wand won’t work.”

Crain’s message that the auto industry’s problems regarding U.S. energy policy cannot be fixed with quick and easy solutions seems to resonate with our community.

UH2L notes President Jimmy Carter’s comprehensive energy policy was not enacted. “Showing people the realistic situation and that they’ll have to sacrifice doesn’t make them happy so it doesn’t lead to re-election,”

Writers also have little patience for the Detroit 3.

“American car manufacturers … have to accept a share of the responsibility for their own problems,” says one.

Another writer asks “Exactly what has Detroit done to improve gas mileage since the last gas crisis?”

And a third also poses a question: “Is this really an energy crisis question or is it really a business management question?”

4-day weeks

Posted comments overwhelmingly support Chrysler’s proposal to switch to four daily 10-hour shifts to reduce costs.

Several writers praise the concept as “a win-win for everyone” and “a very clever idea.” One adds: “Hard to see any losers here!”

Another suggests it should be formalized in Chrysler’s United Auto Worker contract, adding: “This was a proposal by the UAW years ago that was snubbed by the corporations.”

But one writer sounds a note of caution, asking if anybody has done a study to determine if the four-day week produces a productivity decline.

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