Shame on GM for Olds' plight
It is a travesty that General Motors has decided to sacrifice the proud tradition of Oldsmobile on the twin altars of political correctness and sheer incompetency.
Olds began faltering several years ago, but instead of bringing in another car guy like John Rock, GM has preferred to head the division by a succession of women with marketing degrees and little or no automotive background. Instead, they have been recruited from detergent, dog food and other consumer-item firms.
The current boss seems to prefer customer incentives to producing cars people actually want to buy as a way to put the division back on top.
GM's results are obvious. Gone are such American icons as the Cutlass, the Ninety Eight and the Eighty Eight, replaced by indistinguishable cars with forgettable names. Even the legendary Olds emblem is history and, with it, whole market segments.
It would have been preferable to kill Oldsmobile with a single bullet rather than let it suffer this slow, agonizing inevitable death.
ROBERT F.X. PAE
The writer is a consultant.
Blame the shop, not the contract
I have been in the automotive industry for 17 years as an F&I manager, general manager and, for the last 11 years, as president of Arkansas F&I. Our agency provides F&I development, products and services. Yes, I am a general agent for several independent service contract companies.
I am writing in response to the Oct. 23 letter from David Fussell. Many of his opinions reflect the reasons that so many customers never return to the selling dealer's service department after the manufacturer's warranty expires. Of course, he places the total blame on the service contract company. He mentions repair delays because his dealership did not stock a required part. That is certainly not the fault of the service contract.
I was very disturbed by his dissatisfaction that a rental car was not provided for a water pump repair. He said, 'How many shops can always get to such repairs right away?' Mr. Fussell, any shop that is properly staffed and schedules efficiently can get to a water pump repair the same day. No, that is not what rental cars are for.
I think any customer would expect to be able to have a water pump repaired without an overnight wait. No, the customer was not left in the cold by his warranty. He was left in the cold by his selling dealer's service department.
LEWIS MATHEWS JR.
Don't tar 'em all with same brush
In his Oct. 23 letter, David Fussell, a service manager in Georgia, commented on the service that extended warranty companies are offering to dealers and customers. He was extremely dissatisfied with the service that his customers and shop are receiving.
That letter should be taken with a grain of salt because there are service contract companies that make customers a priority. We are one of them.
Maybe the source of the problem is the provider, rather than the service contract industry.
United Car Care Inc.
Invoice should be a private matter
Gian Sud's opinion on invoice privacy (Oct. 30) is right on the money. I would like to shake his hand.
I'm a 48-year veteran of the car wars. I have no idea of what the invoice prices are on lawn mowers, washing machines or power tools. I must rely on my perception of what a fair price is and whether the store I buy from will take care of me after the sale.
A dealer or his commissioned salesperson cannot make much of a living on a profit of 1.5 percent or less per car. The manufacturer is always giving away the shirt off the dealer's back.
As for other professions, I wonder what the markup is at my doctor's office or my lawyer's office, or maybe why my plumber drives a BMW. How about beating up on someone else for a change?
Auto dealers and salespeople are entitled to a fair profit, as is anyone else who is willing to work.
WILLIAM 'ABE' LINCOLN