Don't overlook Sebring, Mustang
In your interesting 'Roadster Race' article (Oct. 18), you covered manual and power tops on cars of Japanese and European origin, but you mentioned only two relatively low-volume American cars, both with manual tops (Chevrolet Corvette and Plymouth Prowler).
I'm sure you know that the two best-selling convertibles in the world are the Chrysler Sebring and the Ford Mustang. Both have power tops, and their tops are larger than the tops on the cars you referenced (i.e., Honda S2000), and yet they can be raised and lowered in an astounding eight and six seconds, respectively.
Omitting those two very successful cars, I trust, was an oversight, not a slight.
ERNEST V. SMUTEK
The writer is a retired automotive supplier.
An extra billion in dealer profit
Keith Crain's Aug. 9 column, 'An opportunity,' is on target. Last year, dealers increased their gross profit by $1.1 billion by selling styling and upgrade accessories, according to the Vehicle Upgrade Association.
Personalizing vehicles also improves the dealer's Customer Satisfaction Index and adds individuality to the store.
Owners love to make their vehicles unique. They prefer to buy just the items they want without being pressured into buying nationwide packages.
Styling and upgrade accessories now include a broad choice of products for trucks. In demand are running boards, sunroofs, graphics, leather interiors, mobile video, wood interior trim and alarm systems, to name but a few.
Dealers who take advantage of what quality installation centers offer can easily gross an ad ditional $20,000 to $25,000 a month. Those who are only semi-committed may add $8,000 to $10,000 a month. A few megastores add $40,000 to $50,000 a month.
At a time when dealer profits are under inocreasing pressure, the back end seems to be the only place to make a profit. Some say aftermarket accessories generate more profit than the sale of the vehicle.
The local installation center offers a wide selection of quality products, usually with same-day or next-day service at a price the customer can afford. Those pros are a big support industry for car dealers. Accessories add more profit per sale.
Little Falls, N.J.
Vice President, Sales
National Sales Manager
E&G Classics Inc.
West Chester, Pa.
Ittco Sales Co. Inc.
GM is right about Internet
I couldn't disagree more with your Aug. 23 editorial, 'GM must not let Internet disrupt its core business.' The writer seems to be in the Dark Ages.
The Internet is still a sleeping giant, and GM must keep abreast of it to excel in this fast-moving economy. Thank God, GM realizes that.
GM certainly can concentrate on making good cars and the Internet, too.
Also, GM is not trying to lure customers with OnStar. The company is promoting it very successfully. Hopefully, GM will be the first to use the Net to the utmost.
Don't sell GM short. You'll lose!
Malibu vs. I30? It's no contest
Robert F.X. Pae is way off base in his Chevrolet Malibu vs. Infiniti I30 comparison (Letters, Sept. 13). And he is way off on his criticism of the French influence on Nissan.
The I30 was conceived, executed and planned for introduction long before Renault purchased a stake in Nissan. The new I30 stands apart from the crowd with its superior styling, engine, dimension and equipment.
Hey, Mr. Pae, how about learning the business you cr itique.
Infiniti of Santa Monica
Santa Monica, Calif.
One-price selling isn't competitive
It amazes me that large corporations think they can dictate prices to the public, especially car pri ces. Your Sept. 6 article on Ford's Tulsa Auto Collection is a prime example.
Everyone wants a deal, even Ford executives. No one wants to pay list price for anything.
How did the Tulsa operation think it was going to stay compet itive with one-price selling when the surrounding dealers were willing to negotiate with customers? What about Internet customers? Welcome to the free enterprise system.
FRANK C. PHILLIPS
Washingtonv ille, N.Y.
A better idea for road safety
Ralph Ehrhardt (Letters, Aug. 23) seems to think that Sweden's and Canada's experience with daytime running lights is sufficient to declare them a safety feature that definitely sav es lives. There are different views on that.
The 55-mph speed limit was confirmed by Congress in January 1975. The highway-fatality rate declined. For 20 years, every lawmaker and political pundit claimed that 'speed kills' and that the lower speed limit was saving tons of lives. Then we raised the speed limit in the mid-1990s - and guess what: The highway fatality rate declined even further!
The reason is that there are far more factors at work than we can analyze effectively and draw true cause-and-effect results from. In the case of the speed limit, it is now suspected that the rate declined initially because people were more alert, watching for police. And later declines are credited to safer car designs.
I submit that in Sweden and upper Canada, which have far more inclement weather and hours of darkness than the United States, daytime running lights may be of some value. But in normal climes, I say they are a severe distraction.
Most accidents are caused by driver error (drugs, alcohol, lack of driving skills). Why do we insist on protecting idiots from themselves when the real savings in traffic fatalities will come from getting really bad drivers and drunks off the roads.
Driving is not a right; it is a privilege. Let people earn it.
ROBERT C. RASSA
Granada Hills, Calif.
Everyone wants to help GM
Concerning General Motors' dilemma with daytime running lights and funeral processions, I believe the solution is to instruct funeral procession drivers to turn on their emergency flashing lights.
That will alert other drivers to recognize and respect the funeral procession and will have the safety of daytime running lights.
I will accept a new Chevy/GMC pickup as a reward for my suggestion.