Solve CAFE issue: Eliminate CAFE
To the Editor:
While I strongly agree that it's about time to revisit corporate average fuel economy, it was disappointing to read that you advocate continuing the destructive interference of politicians in the automotive marketplace.
The automotive industry, media and political leaders should have the guts to advocate the best possible solution to the CAFE problem: Eliminate CAFE.
CAFE has drastically distorted the vehicle marketplace by restricting choices while fueling the growth in light-truck sales. Consumers were forced to search for alternatives as practical and functional passenger cars were virtually eliminated by CAFE legislation.
Notice how the full-sized rear-wheel-drive sedans and station wagons capable of meeting a family's various needs have virtually disappeared, turning into sport-utilities, pickup trucks and vans.
Any economist worth his salt will explain that CAFE is an extremely costly and inefficient way to improve fuel economy. Imagine the redeployment of resources and explosion of new ideas and vehicles that would be possible if automakers were allowed to fully pursue developing vehicles consumers want, not vehicles the politicians want consumers to buy.
When did you last see a politician driving a vehicle that gets 40 mpg?
Competition would still require that automakers improve fuel economy, so the ultimate goal of CAFE would still be achieved without unnecessarily limiting vehicle choice.
Putting politicians in charge of determining how many miles per gallon a car or truck should get sounds like something right out of the former Soviet Union. Thankfully, the Soviet Union is history; now it is time for CAFE also to rest in piece.
Grand Blanc, Mich.
The writer is sales manager for a Tier 1 supplier.
2001 a bad year? Just you wait
To the Editor:
It's not surprising that some analysts are puzzled by stronger-than-expected sales ('Feb. sales second highest in decade,' March 5). That's what happens when automotive projections are based on a quarter (fourth) disrupted by nonautomotive issues (presidential election politics).
Here's the simplest of realities: The dual linchpins of auto sales are consumer confidence among creditworthy consumers who can actually afford a new vehicle and public enthusiasm for new products.
After taking a serious jolt in November-December 2000, confidence levels are on the mend. A broader perspective shows that in February, two of the seven CNW-identified regions of the country remained in a consumer-confidence funk. They are the Industrial Midwest and the Mountain states. The Northwest, Agricultural Midwest and Northeast are hanging on and/or improving, and the Southwest and Southeast are upbeat.
In a historic analysis, economic (and automotive) recessions occur when at least three regions are down and no more than two are positive. The current state - especially with three regions improving - actually portends a possible boom in retail automotive sales no later than the fourth quarter.
Also boosting confidence levels will be some fashion of tax cuts, part of which will be retroactive.
Finally, there is and will continue to be for the rest of this year a run of new products likely to capture consumer attention and generate public enthusiasm. Some of those products - such as Ford's new Explorer - are too important to let languish without big-time, relentless marketing and promotion, which will clearly add to the public's desire.
In reality, January, February and early March sales rates - all at a seasonally adjusted rate of more than 17 million units - point to an outstanding year with 2001 at least third best in history and possibly approaching 2000's 17.4 million units.
CNW Marketing Research Inc.
Ford's plans please former L-M dealer
To the Editor:
I am a former Lincoln-Mercury dealer, and it did my heart good to read your Feb. 19 articles on those makes. We former dealers never really knew where Ford Motor Co. was going with them. I'm sure that all Lincoln-Mercury dealers were quite delighted that Ford is taking the right steps with two of its finest products.