Ford never gave SHO an identity
In regard to 'Ford's SHO nears final curtain' (March 23), the basic sales problem since introduction has been the public's perception of the SHO.
From a technical standpoint, the Ford-Yamaha high-output, double-overhead-camshaft with four-valve head, etc., in the original 3-liter/3.2-liter V-6 and now the 3.4-liter V-8, along with heavy-duty suspension, has made the SHO a very good 'performance' vehicle.
Ford never gave it a separate identity. The SHO remained a wolf in sheep's clothing at a wolf's price.
It's doubtful that a five- or six-speed manual transaxle would have invigorated sales of today's Taurus SHO V-8.
The new Contour SVT with the Duratec HO V-6 at 195 hp will be an almost equal performer at a lower price, as your article indicated. Only the manual five-speed transaxle is available.
If the 'true' Taurus SHO gets the 'curtain call,' it will be sad to see the SHO 3.4-liter V-8 disappear, as it is a jewel of an engine.
The writer is a consultant and the retired vice president of a diesel engine distributor.
We need leaders, not drivers
In the mid-1970s, I was one of three dealership sales managers that General Motors selected for a film that was to be shown at GM training centers. The objective was to help sales managers train salespeople.
Two basic criteria were:
1. The Observable - observe daily attitude toward customers and employees; appearance, dress, etc.
2. The Measurable - track units sold, gross, production and activity, etc.
The main theme, however, was for the manager to concentrate on being a leader, not a driver, thus earning the respect of the salespeople. That was not an easy task, but the results were increased dedication to one's job and a strong desire to go the extra mile to achieve success.
Unfortunately, there are far too many 'drivers' in the auto business today, which leads to disrespect, turnover problems and much less success.
Please, let's get back to doing what is right by, first, taking care of our salespeople. If we do, I assure you that they will go beyond the call of duty. Let's remember that respect is earned each day, not given. Let's eliminate the constant turnover, raise our standards and stop making this wonderful and rewarding automobile business any tougher than it already is.
Cadillac Sales Consultant
Owner loyalty? It's 75 miles away
Doesn't it seem odd that a large corporation like General Motors would allow a division (Cadillac) to cut in half the loyal dealer organization that has taken several generations to build?
How can they talk about owner loyalty when an owner must travel 75 to 100 miles for service as a result of that restructuring? That is happening. I think Cadillac is biting off its nose to spite its face.
DARRELL F. POWELL
The writer is a retired auto dealer who still works part-time as a car salesman.
America needs its transplants
Ernest Rodriguez, whose May 18 letter expressed disdain for transplants, must have been sleeping for the last decade and a half to miss the numerous benefits transplants have brought to the North American market.
I refer to lean production; real quality instead of advertising copy; competition that has forced the domestics to produce better (but still not equal) products; a new birth for competitive suppliers; and deserved extinction for the rest.
Jobs lost, such as those at Zenith and RCA, were lost by poor management and inadequate products, not spirited away by transplant competition.
Yes, we DO need transplants. They have shown that Americans can build cars with the world's best. They forced us to face what was a sclerotic industry and give it a swift kick in the pants.
Arms Akimbo Publications
Harbor City, Calif.
The writer is a free-lance journalist.
Silent start - way back in '26
I am writing about your March 16 story, 'All-in-one electric system gives silent starts.'
I recall that a similar system was used by Dodge, circa 1926 - at least the starter/generator part. I distinctly remember that my schoolteacher's Dodge started with absolutely no noise. What goes around comes around.
PHILIP J. GARTHE
General Motors brake
Coos Bay, Ore.
The article mentioned did not appear in all editions of Automotive News.