L-M agreed - three years later
In 1994, I attended the Mercury Mystique launch meeting in Atlanta. As a Lincoln-Mercury dealership principal, I had been to many such affairs and realized the importance of that effort.
Lincoln-Mercury Division, infamous for many disastrous launches, was determined to 'get it right this time.'
When I suggested that the Mystique be introduced with a money-back guarantee (similar to Saturn's then 30-day policy), key management responded with incredulity. I was patronizingly told in quite icy and very arrogant tones that such a marketing ploy was unnecessary on such a fine vehicle.
In fact, for the remainder of the meeting, I was treated like a skunk at a garden party.
Imagine my amusement when I read your March 24 article, 'L-M tries 30-day money-back offer on the Mystique.'
JOHN J. MEIROSE
How to strengthen Chrysler's cars
I'm a retiree who never worked in the automobile industry, but I offer these comments as a lifelong auto enthusiast.
Chrysler Corp. has been very successful with its minivans and sport-utilities, but less successful with its cars. Chrysler appears to have the financial and technical depth to offer four distinct brands of cars, as follows:
Chrysler (upscale image). This brand should move upscale, leaving room for Plymouth. Chrysler should be a premium car at a higher level than Dodge or Plymouth. A distinctively styled touring car like Chrysler's show cars would be an asset.
Plymouth (value image): It's a shame that previous Chrysler management allowed Plymouth to drop from No. 3 in the industry to its present position. Plymouth should have an LH car, a Neon station wagon and some 'fun-type' offshoots of the Neon, including a convertible.
Dodge (performance image): Dodge should have distinctive styling to distinguish it from its cousins. It lacks a performance car to compete with the Taurus SHO and the supercharged Pontiacs.
Eagle (import fighter): AutoStick transmission should be standard on all Eagles, and all-wheel drive should be offered as an option to compete with the Audi. An LH station wagon would give the Eagle a competitor for the Volvo 850. A shortened two-seat version of the Chrysler Sebring convertible would give the Eagle a competitor to the BMW Z3.
Chrysler Corp. and its dealers are strong because of the success of their minivans and utility vehicles. This is the time to strengthen the car lines.
DOUGLAS R. GRAHAM
The writer was an assistant vice president of engineering for a steamship company.
How to resolve GM's labor woes
To focus General Motors toward a new labor policy, as advocated in your April 21 editorial, shareholders can vote for proposal No. 7 in the GM proxy statement, issued in advance of the May 23 annual meeting. The proposal calls for a return to an independent chairman of the board.
An independent chairman can devote more energy to solving GM's persistent labor problems.
GM's 1996 labor problems resulted in one of the heaviest strike losses ever suffered by an American company.
Redondo Beach, Calif.
John Chevedden is the author of proposal No. 7 in the GM proxy.
Army vet talks of pride and CSI
As a former Army maintenance officer, I am somewhat perplexed by the articles and editorials that discuss the Customer Satisfaction Index.
Many of the concepts and ideas presented have been applied by my peers and by me (during my 20 years of service) without the advice of high-paid consultants.
Quality customer support and uncompromising integrity and ethical conduct is a way of life. I have delivered and provided service for tactical vehicles and combat weapons systems consistently to the satisfaction of my customers (the Army) despite the fact there was no competition.
Nevertheless, we did everything possible to enhance excellent business practices and customer relations, knowing that ultimately the lives of our customers could depend on how well we did our job.
We did not receive a commission or a bonus. We did get satisfaction from our customers' confidence in our maintenance of their equipment.
U.S. Army (Retired)