Ford's new idea: Swig did it in '83
Re: Ford's luxury store 'campuses' (Oct. 30), the concept is exactly the same as that used by my San Francisco Autocenter in 1983.
We had individual showrooms under one roof and brand-specific service writers and technicians.
Office functions and used cars were combined. It worked!
At the time, dealers loved it. Manufacturers were lukewarm.
With the overwhelming real estate opportunities in San Francisco, I converted the property to a shopping center. But it was fun being an industry trailblazer.
Did Rock foretell demise of Olds?
Perhaps unwittingly, but tellingly, John Rock has given us all an insight into where he and General Motors went wrong with Oldsmobile (Automotive News, Dec. 18).
It is clear from his comment - that he should have fired Oldsmobile's advertising agency - that, like so many in our industry, he and his marketing team were relying on the advertising agency to position the brand.
That is not the way great brand positioning is achieved.
Great brand positioning is achieved:
When planners, designers, engineers, production men, marketers, salespeople and management put their heads together to decide what they do best and commit their company to its achievement
When that team shrewdly looks ahead and positions its brand to exploit key trends in the market and among their competitors
When a few clear and understandable brand attributes drive the design process so that the product that reaches the customer actually embodies the desired objective
When this positioning is maintained, through hell and high water, long enough for people to get the message
When the task of the ad agency is to communicate in the best way the brand's positioning, not to make up for the failings of a company that paid attention to none of the above.
It's easy enough - but how many companies can you think of that are doing it?
KARL E. LUDVIGSEN
Ludvigsen Associates is a motor industry management consulting firm.
How to handle invoice shopper
After reading William 'Abe' Lincoln's Nov. 13 letter on invoice privacy, I made photocopies of it and gave them to all my co-workers.
Applause and kudos to Abe.
However, I don't think that keeping our costs a 'hush-hush' secret is the heart of the issue.
Some jerk will always try to pad his pocket at our expense by selling automobile and parts invoices.
When a customer is armed with a flock of invoices, we look the person straight in the eye and ask point blank: 'Don't I deserve to make a profit at what I do just like you, Mr. (or Ms.) Lawyer, Doctor, Plumber?'
Usually, it works with people who have a brain.
Bay Ridge Honda