Mullane fights for Ford dealers
I wish to take issue with Maurice Taylor, who wrote that Ed Mullane should 'sell his dealership and do something else for a living' (Letters, Aug. 30).
Does Mullane have a chip on his shoulder because of the way Ford Motor Co. has treated him? No bigger than the one on my shoulder for the way Ford has treated me.
Mullane's life work is his Ford dealership. Should he sell out and do something else because he has the courage to fight Ford and the fortitude to challenge Ford for all the crap they throw at the Ford dealers? No way!
All Ford dealers should thank God for Ed Mullane. He has railed against the injustices of Ford Motor Co., and he has blasted Ford time and time again when it has mistreated dealers.
For example, when Ford refused to pay dealers retail prices for parts; when Ford transfers costs to dealers; when Ford refuses to pay reasonable warranty rates; when it forces a dealer to pay part of the repair to satisfy a customer on a product defect. And the latest insult: operating factory-owned stores to compete with independent dealers.
While most Ford dealers quietly take the abuse, Mullane has guts enough to strike back.
The dealer relations surveys for the past couple of years have Ford Motor Co. at the bottom. Taylor might want to study those findings rather than criticize Ed Mullane.
Carter Management Co.
Eau Claire, Wis.
GM could use Wal-Mart's help
This an open letter to General Motors.
Many of us are concerned with the steady erosion of market share which, I believe, will continue unless a major problem is resolved.
I was controller for a Chevrolet dealership, and my job also involved inventory control. I was always dismayed to see many unfilled orders for full-sized trucks year after year. Other Chevrolet dealerships in the area seemed to have the same problem.
Ford dealer lots were - and are - filled with trucks. Many of the Chevy orders languished and were canceled at model change.
Why can't GM recruit someone from Wal-Mart who knows how to match manufacturing and salable products to sales? Wal-Mart has been highly successful at it.
Last I heard, 'GM was studying the problem' of increasing truck capacity. What is needed is a crash program to solve this problem, which predates current management. If Ford is a threat now, what happens when the Toyota Tundra reaches volume production?
WILLIAM A. NEMETH
The writer is a retired business manager.
High-tech gadgets ignore customer
I had to smile when I read (Aug. 23) that an Automotive News PACE Awards judge was frustrated by the inability of drivers to use today's advanced vehicle technology.
That just supports my conviction that too many features of our current cars are technology-driven, not customer-driven.
I'm still waiting for more drivers to decide to make regular use of one of the safety systems that is installed in all cars: turn signals.
As for the disabling of the smart airbag by a sack of groceries on the passenger seat, surely that is in itself an invitation to drive carefully.
Anyone remember the American Motors commercial starring the Matador driver who couldn't accept a challenge to race because he had a bowl of goldfish on the seat?
KARL E. LUDVIGSEN
Ludvigsen Associates (UK) Ltd.
Ludvigsen Associates is a management consulting company specializing in the motor industry.