Ford does care, dealer declares
In your Nov. 8 issue, you published a letter from a Ford Motor Co. customer who wrote to Jac Nasser and received no reply.
I am a small Ford dealer, and I find that astonishing. We get more feedback and reply letters than I can handle.
Recently, a disgruntled customer wrote a three-page letter to Ford Vice President Bob Rewey, and I got more heat than the Alabama at Pearl Harbor. Not to mention three letters - one from Rewey, one from a staff manager and one from my district manager, with a note to put it in my dealer file.
By printing that letter, you insinuated that Ford doesn't care. Well, Ford does care!
Something got lost in the cracks, and I would doubt it was by Ford.
By the way, I contacted the person who said he would never set foot in my dealership, and he is now driving a new Mustang convertible.
Fred Vollmer Ford Inc.
Utter frustration: Ordering a GMC
On Aug. 30, I signed a contract to purchase a GMC 2500 extended cab 6L fully loaded pickup. Eight weeks later, the dealer had not been able to place the order with GMC. Five letters and a number of phone calls have been fruitless.
A number of other General Motors dealers have indicated the same problem. If the dealer had been able to place the order and establish a production date, I could endure the wait. But to wait just to place the order is out of the question.
A point of interest: GMC advertised that same vehicle all the time the order could not be placed. I have canceled the original contract, and my money has been returned. It seems GM is not interested in making a sale. I have ordered a Ford F-250 Supercab comparable to the GMC.
GMC has lost a customer, and I am a very frustrated buyer.
WALTER H. WIDMER
Upper Saddle River, N.J.
The writer is a retired educator.
He's retired and glad of it
After General Motors Institute, 12 years with General Motors and 30 years as a GM dealer, I observe with sadness (and relief; I sold my business last year) the GM of today.
The product problem is bad enough, but to watch Ron Zarrella and Roy Roberts systematically destroy the world's finest dealer organization is painful.
Your Nov. 8 editorial said the chairman had done his job by canceling the dealer buyout program, but if he were doing his job, those guys wouldn't still be there.
One of the joys of retirement is being able to write a letter like this.
The writer owned Haney Oldsmobile-Pontiac-Buick-GMC in Waynesburg, Pa.
A simple answer to running lights
I enjoyed Richard Semel's Nov. 22 letter, 'A noisy successor to running lights,' and his tongue-in-check remark, 'What's next? Full-time horns?'
It brought back memories of an attempt several years ago by some people outside the auto industry to promote daytime running lights.
At the time, I was public relations director for General Motors' Guide Division, which made lighting equipment.
Although daytime running lights might have added to our business, Scott Conwell, our director of sales and engineering, pointed out that if anyone wanted them, 'just turn on your lower beams.'
The writer is a public relations counsel.
Pete Estes was represented
The induction of additional industry leaders into the Automotive Hall of Fame was generally well reported in the Oct. 25 issue of Automotive News. (Coverage appeared in some editions.)
There was one important omission, however. The late Elliott 'Pete' Estes, former president of General Motors, was indeed represented at the ceremony. At the request of the family, professor Richard Scarchburg of Kettering University accepted the award and gave a message of appreciation.
Society of Automotive Historians
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Protect dealer is his first job
In Wag the Dog, a movie that Walter Huizenga cited in his Oct. 18 column as a General Motors shareholder, a foreign war was used to divert attention from a president's shortcomings. It seemed an apt analogy for the head of a trade association who hasn't done much in his capacity as its president, whose first and only commitment should be the best interests of his members.
Several international manufacturers now demand separate, stand-alone facilities for their dealers, even when volume or location make such changes unreasonable. Others are reducing dealer margins to the level that make each sale a money-losing proposition for the dealer, who must base his profitability on finance and insurance, used cars, parts and accessories.
Other companies are engaging in direct selling and company-owned stores. Right-of-first-refusal clauses are commonplace in new dealer abuses.
As an example, Volvo is trying to render impotent the entire New York law that protects dealers against factory agreements. In fact, Volvo is saying what is good for Volvo is good for the auto industry. Why hasn't Huizenga raised his voice against those practices? Surely, he has a greater obligation in those instances than as a GM shareholder.
Before Huizenga assumed his present responsibilities, the American International Automobile Dealers Association organized its dealers and led a massive assault against a plan promulgated by Porsche that would have reduced independent dealers to the status of manufacturer's representatives. In the face of such organized resistance, Porsche dropped its plan.
Some years ago, at the National Automobile Dealers Association, Frank McCarthy said, 'If we can't protect the interests of our dealers, we might as well go out of business.'
I can understand why Huizenga would encourage GM to put a sign on its war room that says, 'It's the product, stupid!' He might consider one for his own office: 'It's the dealer. ...'
Nemet Auto Group