`What if?' D/C style
What if DaimlerChrysler terminated its investment in trying to establish a new brand in Europe (Smart) and put those resources into rebuilding the long-established and undernourished Plymouth brand?
What if Chrysler reversed a trend and flooded Plymouth with new products, all with strong styling influences from the Prowler?
What if the PT Cruiser were marketed as a Plymouth and the Fury name were resurrected using a less expensive version of the Chrysler 300 body with strong Prowler styling influences?
What if the Chrysler brand were moved further upscale, eliminating the less expensive lines and adding more expensive models with Mercedes platforms? What if a new Chrysler Imperial were introduced on a Mercedes platform, with all the elegance of the Imperial of the early 1930s?
What if the lower-priced cars were marketed internationally as Plymouths rather than Chryslers?
What if retailing in the United States were done by three groups - Dodge car and truck, Jeep-Plymouth and Chrysler-Mercedes?
Would this scenario result in a fully integrated company using the Chrysler brand as a bridge? Would the prestige of all Chrysler cars rise?
Would Plymouth's market share double? Would Dodge be hurt? Would overall market share and profits rise?
The writer is a retired engineering executive.
`Ask Hudler'; but you didn't
The lead editorial in your Jan. 10 issue suggests that anyone contemplating a public offering of car dealerships should call me.
I wish you had followed your own advice and asked Don Hudler. If you had, this is what I would have told you:
Saturn has a bright future. In fact, its best days are ahead. I say that because of the Saturn culture and philosophy, market area approach, outstanding owner loyalty and, arguably, the world's best automotive retailers.
Saturn Retail Enterprises was formed to preserve and grow the Saturn brand and provide an exit mechanism for those retailers desiring to sell. Public ownership was part of the vision for SRE when Saturn and its retailers first put the plan in place.
And while the timing of our initial public offering is uncertain, public ownership is still part of the plan for SRE.
I learned long ago not to spend a lot of time worrying about things you can't control or greatly influence.
As you pointed out in your editorial, this may not be the best time to take an idea like ours to the public market. However, markets are never static. We will use the time the markets have given us making sure our portfolio of high-performing retail stores will attract future investors.
As in all things, timing is everything. We look forward to your continued counsel and advice as we assess the right moment to execute our IPO.
After a long and satisfying career with General Motors, I have the good fortune to continue to work in a part of the car business that I thoroughly enjoy.
Said another way, if I didn't believe this would work, I'd find some other way to fill my day.
DONALD W. HUDLER
Chairman and CEO
Saturn Retail Enterprises Inc.
It's an Impala, not a Bel Air
On Page 2 of your Dec. 20 issue, you showed a 1960 Chevrolet Impala four-door hardtop, but you called it a Bel Air four-door sedan.
The picture you used is a promotional postcard issued by Chevrolet in 1960. I have one of those postcards.
I love old American cars from the 1950s and 1960s. I know the 2000 cars are better built but, boy oh boy, what styling we had back then. Cars just made you feel good, something that today's automobiles lack.
I own a 1957 Chrysler New Yorker, and I would not trade it for any new car.
R. MICHAEL NOE
The writer is a retired Chrysler Corp. employee.