'Best indicator of auto activity'
I am disappointed that the weekly production figures may disappear. They are used at R. T. Vanderbilt Co. as the best up-to-the-minute indicator of the activity of the automotive industry.
And the level of vehicle production is the statistically most significant indicator of our company's business.
R. T. Vanderbilt Co. Inc.
Loss of numbers is 'a real shame'
It's a real shame that we're not going to get those production reports on a weekly basis.
We're a Tier 2 supplier. Frankly, our Tier 1 guys screw us around so much in our scheduling that we utilize those numbers to constantly remind them that they're building X number of Ford Rangers per week or whatever so that we can plan our production.
The numbers help us with our inventory, and they help us with our future material purchases. Elimination of that data is a real loss to those of us in the automotive industry.
Executive Vice President
and General Manager
Olds sales chief answers editorial
I read your March 23 editorial, 'GM must revive Saturn; dying lines must pay the price,' with mixed emotions.
I agree with you on the importance of Saturn to General Motors, and, quite frankly, that is reflected in the investment GM is making in product programs that will assure Saturn continued success well into the future.
However, I strongly disagree with your logic that states some divisions must go in order to benefit another. Saturn is no more important to GM's success in North America than the other marketing divisions - Oldsmobile, Pontiac-GMC, Cadillac, Chevrolet and Buick. Each plays a vital role in GM's success.
As with Saturn, GM has made major financial investments in products for each division, and they are paying off. For instance, Oldsmobile, which arguably has the strongest lineup of vehicles in GM, has started its turnaround.
For the fourth quarter of 1997 and the first quarter of 1998, we showed year-to-year increases. In March alone, we recorded a sales increase of 26 percent over March 1997 and a 44 percent increase over February 1998.
That success comes without the all-new Alero, which will hit our dealers' showrooms this summer. Our Intrigue continues to post month-to-month sales gains, and is now a major player in the mid-sized market. For the 1998 calendar year, we plan to post a year-to-year increase of 18 percent over 1997.
Every division at GM is stronger from an infusion of new products. The new mid-sized cars - Oldsmobile Intrigue and Cutlass, Pontiac Grand Prix, Buick Century and Regal and Chevrolet Malibu - are all showing great success in the marketplace.
The new Seville is a hit at Cadillac, and the new Pontiac Grand Am and Oldsmobile Alero with the new full-sized pickups from Chevrolet and GMC will provide additional links to strengthen GM in today's very competitive market.
No, if Saturn or any other GM unit is to succeed, it will not be at the expense of another division, but rather as an integral part of the whole.
Each marketing unit is uniquely positioned with products that will make GM successful.
General Sales and
The 'people': Often forgotten
I liked Keith Crain's March 2 column on the Geneva auto show, especially the headline - 'Products or people?'
Yes, billions are spent on product - but the people?
I sold Buicks for 40 years at two dealerships (the first one folded).
My retirement benefits consist of Social Security.