If our cars were like computers
The Justice Department is not alone in taking shots at Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft Corp. Paul Holloway, chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association, poked fun at Gates during last week's Washington Automotive Press Association meeting: 'I understand that at a recent computer expo, Bill Gates remarked that 'if GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25 cars that get 1,000 miles a gallon.' Well, it didn't take GM long to respond. GM said, 'Yes, but would you want your car to crash twice a day?''
BREAK-IN - AFIT-PAC (Americans for Free International Trade Political Action Committee) has a growing history of publicity stunts to encourage donations during the American International Automobile Dealers Association annual Automotive Congress, which took place last week. This year, the group got more than it bargained for, when it entered about 600 hotel rooms in Washington and festooned them with yellow 'crime scene' tape, printed with 'Tariffs Kill.' The trouble is, some convention-goers didn't get the joke right away when they entered their rooms late at night -or didn't appreciate their rooms being entered without their say-so. Hotel security at the J.W. Marriott got at least some complaints. Mary Hanagan, AFIT-PAC executive director, said she was aware of only one complaint, at the Willard Intercontinental, where the stuff wound up in the wrong room. Said Hanagan: 'This is a fun group to work with; dealers are so into advertising.'
YOU FIRST - Bill Gilliland, president of Cross-Continent Auto Retailers, said last week that he ignored some fatherly advice when his group was the first to go public, in September 1996. 'My father used to say, 'The first guy out of the trench always gets shot.' I never did listen worth a darn,' he said. Gilliland spoke at the American International Automobile Dealers Association annual Automotive Congress in Washington.
CHANGING TIMES - They don't pick assembly-line workers like they used to. Today's applicants have to endure a battery of tests and teamwork exercises. Dennis Pawley, Chrysler Corp.'s manufacturing chief who spoke at the International Automotive Manufacturing Conference & Exposition this month in Detroit, recalled an earlier era. In the past, Pawley said, Chrysler would call the Michigan Employment Security Commission and say, ''We need 50 people.' And if they could walk and breathe and got to the door first, they got the job.'