The cat's out of the bag
Thomas Pappert, retired Chrysler Corp. vice president of sales and marketing, speaking to students at Northwood University in Midland, Mich., on the company's past quality issues: 'Lexus had a quality test. They used to put a cat in the car, and the next morning, if the cat was dead, they knew the car was airtight. Chrysler did the same test a few years back, and in the morning, the cat was gone.' Pappert again, same place, while emphasizing that the Dodge Viper is strictly an image car: 'We lost money on every Viper we sold last year. We had more minivans fall off trains than we sold Vipers last year.'
DAIMLER VS. ... It appears there are not enough letters in the alphabet to go around. Volvo Car Corp. and Daimler-Benz AG have already asked a German court to arbitrate their use of 'S' and 'V' model designations. Daimler has its Mercedes-Benz S-class sedans and a V-class minivan, which is not offered in the United States. Starting with the 1998 model year, Volvo uses S for sedan; V ('versatility') for wagon. Volvo recently named its all-new sedan the S80. It goes on sale this fall. The use of 'M' is also a sore subject between Daimler (M class) and BMW AG (M for Motorsports). And now Jaguar Cars Ltd. has weighed in, calling its new car the S Type, a name Jaguar used in the 1960s. It goes on sale in the spring of 1999.
SHOPPING IN SECLUSION - Jaguar Cars North America has promised that its elegant South Coast Motor Cars planned for Mission Viejo, Calif., will give customers what they want. So when customer focus groups revealed that prospects did not want to be on display while they shopped, Jaguar went back to the drawing board, said Lawrence Williams, Jaguar national franchise development manager. Customers also suggested that a villa design would be more pleasing. The new design has eliminated the large plate windows found in traditional dealerships. Also due to customer demand, Jaguar has given a thumbs up to a satellite store in nearby Newport Beach. Both stores will be owned by a single, yet-to-be-named dealer and are scheduled to open next spring.