A strong vote for Blue Oval
As a second-generation Ford dealer, I've found the debate over Ford's Blue Oval program to be shortsighted.
The debate muddies what Blue Oval is setting out to accomplish: a better Ford brand experience. As one who has invested considerably in Ford brands over the years, I support that goal, and so does our company.
History has shown us that the stronger manufacturer brands translate into stronger and more profitable dealership franchises. That is why we are working so hard to have all 55 of our Ford Division franchises certified under Blue Oval by April 1. We anticipate having as many as 40 franchises certified by year's end.
So let's end the debate and work with Ford to enhance the customer's buying and ownership experience. An invitation to meet the sales and service demands of today's vehicle buyer is one that all dealers should embrace.
MICHAEL E. MAROONE
President and COO
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Dealer sums up the Olds equation
I would like to suggest that you spend more time improving the content of Automotive News and less time suggesting that General Motors eliminate Oldsmobile (Nov. 27).
Our family has operated three Oldsmobile stores successfully for several years (since 1933, 1947 and 1957). Until recent years we have been blessed with great products and great public acceptance.
If the top management of GM wants Oldsmobile to survive, it will. However, if top management wants to eliminate Oldsmobile, it can slowly orchestrate Olds' demise, which some feel GM is already doing.
Hopefully, GM will defer to the thousands of loyal dealers, employees and customers and provide us with the proper management, marketing and product to survive, irrespective of your thoughts on the matter.
Did `dream team' really do it?
Your deification of Chrysler's 'dream team' (Nov. 20 editorial) is questionable. Chrysler arguably achieved its high profitability in the 1990s not because of the Eaton regime's brilliance, but because the company pioneered minivans and sport-utilities - a strategy largely developed in the 1980s under Lee Iacocca.
Chrysler could have a difficult time weathering the next recession because of the dream team's risky product spending binge. Today, Chrysler has almost as many passenger-car platforms as much-larger Ford.
No expense has been spared; i.e., the Sebring offers distinct sheet metal for each of its three body styles. It's hard to imagine that passenger-car sales have increased enough to compensate for those higher fixed costs.
Meanwhile, with the exception of the PT Cruiser, Chrysler has been complacent in defending its hold on the sport-utility and minivan markets.
While Tom Gale's departure is a sad loss, in general Chrysler's 'brain drain' could be helpful. A fresh approach is needed to fix the Eaton regime's potentially devastating mistakes.
The merger may have sped up this housecleaning process by a number of crucial years. Who cares if the new management team is German as long as it gets the job done?
The writer is an automotive historian and is a doctoral student in public affairs at Cleveland State University.
The Japanese must be laughing
Wall Street supported Daimler's takeover of Chrysler because it meant dollars for the brokers.
They will support the sale of the Statue of Liberty if commissions are included.
Now that Juergen Schrempp has shown his true character, we will see the destruction of an American icon.
You know who must be laughing? The Japanese automakers.
Their goal is to destroy our auto industry just as they destroyed our TV industry.
But the Japanese did not expect help from the Germans, only from Washington.
I hope Dieter Zetsche fails miserably and that Daimler sells Chrysler for 50 percent of what it paid.
Coral Springs, Fla.
Couldn't believe he said it
Amen to Dave Duell's Nov. 20 letter pertaining to Juergen Schrempp's comments about buying Chrysler.
I have been selling Chrysler products for 35 years and have owned my Chrysler dealership for 25 years, and I couldn't believe that man would make comments like that for publication.
I'll be selling cars and trucks and taking care of my customers for years to come, but I don't know where Mr. Schrempp might be spending his time.
Oldsmobile failed on product side
Your many articles and letters regarding the fate of Oldsmobile have held my interest.
Once a premier division of General Motors and a proud American nameplate, it is becoming increasingly clear that Oldsmobile's demise is approaching.
Not too long ago, during John Rock's tenure as general manager, he wrote advertorials in Automotive News titled 'A piece from the rock.' As a lifelong fan of Oldsmobile, I read them with great interest.
He talked mostly about 'sprucing up' the stores and showrooms and the great team he was building.
But he forgot to address the most important question: When is Olds going to introduce some exciting new cars to place in those spruced-up showrooms?
Again, we failed to get the ever-lingering message: It's the product, stupid.
That was evident again in 1997 when Oldsmobile celebrated its 100th anniversary, the first American car to do so. Again, no exciting new products to celebrate that important milestone.
I fear the next time I read an article about Oldsmobile in Automotive News, it will be in your obituary column.
What a shame.
The writer is retired from General Motors and also is retired from Lear Corp. as a plant manager.