Honda in Europe
To the editor:
I read your article about Honda's image problem in Europe and the company's consequent attempts to attract younger buyers ('Civic-minded,' January issue, Page 27). I couldn't help but wonder why the Civic Type R will not be offered in the United States.
Honda performance is one of the biggest things on the street now, and the Type R is an oft-dreamed about and admired car. The import performance scene is exploding. Why doesn't Honda capitalize on that by offering the Civic Type R?
There is no question that the car would sell, especially if Honda sells them in limited numbers like the Acura Integra Type R. I guess I am a frustrated enthusiast, but enthusiasts are the ones buying the Civic Si, Integra GSR and Integra Type R.
Why doesn't Honda give its most fervent supporters what they want?
Harrisburg, Virginia, USA
To the editor:
I would like to thank you for Michael Dunne's article titled 'China's Truck Boom' (January issue, Page 25).
As chief representative for Paccar China Ltd., I must tell you that this article was the most realistic look at the Chinese truck industry that I have read. It contained the proper amount of optimism balanced with the appropriate amount of skepticism.
His remarks regarding the advantages of taxing at the pump rather than taxing on the rated tonnage of the vehicle are exactly correct. By taxing the truck according to the rated tonnage, you force the owner to purchase a lighter truck in order to pay a lower tax. Then the owner severely overloads the truck to gain additional revenues.
With a fuel tax, it makes better financial sense to have one larger truck rather than four small ones. One driver, one set of tires, one fuel-efficient, low-emission engine.
You mentioned the 20,000 kilometers of superhighways which the government is building to connect China's ports to its inland cities. As a full-time resident of this fine country, I cannot help but notice that many of the superhighways they have built in the last few years already need extensive repair. In some cases, they need complete rebuilding.
China is a big country, roughly the size of the United States. For this reason, China needs to adopt trucking regulations more closely attuned to the U.S. Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, rather than the European standards that are in place. Neither China nor the United States can afford to build highways with the depth of concrete to carry the loads required by the European standards. Both countries are just too big.
Further development of the Chinese truck industry will not take place until China is a full and complying member of the World Trade Organization.
William A. Morse
Director, Paccar China Ltd.
Designer J Mays
To the editor:
I read your excellent J Mays piece in the February issue ('Back to the future,' Page 29), and was flattered to note that it quotes from my AutoWeek profile of his visit to the Milan furniture fair.
One thing puzzles me, though: You accurately quote from my story and yet claim that the guy who accompanied him to Milan, 021C concept designer Marc Newson, is actually called `Mark Dusen.'
Editor's note: The correct name is Marc Newson. We regret the error.
To the editor:
I was very interested to read your article, 'Brandishing badges,' in your online edition (January issue, Page 35). Although I work in Nashville for Bridgestone/Firestone (which now has its own brand image issues), in the mid-1980s I was employed at the Tokyo headquarters of Nissan Motor in the international division. I lived in Japan for seven years until 1990.
From an American perspective, the proliferation of names, models, special editions and hood ornaments for Japanese domestic models may be confusing. But I am not sure it is a problem for the Japanese consumer or carmakers.
I noticed the trend when I lived there. I told my Japanese friends that it seemed strange that some models did not even have the company nameplate on the back of the car, much less a badge on the front. They said many motorists removed the nameplates because they detracted from the appearance of the vehicle.
Young men with Toyota Soarers and Nissan Skylines wanted no corporate logos to spoil the coolness of their rides. It was not as chic to have a Japanese car as a European one. At the very least, one wanted to own a car that left its identity a mystery.
The Japanese prefer ambiguity and inscrutability to clarity or obviousness. I think that carries over to their dislike for consistent car badging.
Many of my fellow employees and bosses at Nissan also disliked the Nissan rising-sun logo. They explained that it was old-fashioned.
In other words, Japanese carmakers have been responding to consumer demand. Competition for domestic market share doesn't necessarily require a unified brand identity or badging.
Nashville, Tennessee, USA