I strongly agree with John K. Teahen Jr.'s Aug. 22 column, "Problems will follow today's price upheaval," because I was there when the first stone was tossed.
I was at Oldsmobile during the F-85 program (late 1950s to early 1960s), working as a cost estimator and product engineering analyst.
The original program showed a cost well below the final actual cost because our engineers believed that small cars could be produced at a much lower cost than our big Eighty Eights and Ninety Eights.
Using those early cost projections, the marketing boys went to work on pricing, Originally the goal was a 23 percent dealer discount plus 2 percent holdback, for a total of 25 percent, just like the big cars. In the end, the dealers were sacrificed (the discount was 19 and 2 for a total of 21 percent).
In my 10 years at Olds, and later as a Ford dealer, I learned that the manufacturer comes first.
The F-85 debacle was the first step down the primrose path of pricing.
Teahen's question of what's next can be answered simply.
The juggler can't keep all the pricing gimmicks in the air. But if a new gimmick can put off the inevitable big shakeout, it will be used.