To the Editor:
During a brief visit to Europe, I observed a covey of small, unrecognized cars wearing the distinctive Chevrolet livery.
The Chevrolet nameplate and bowtie were figuratively camouflaging the identity of Daewoo (Korean) products also made by General Motors.
I have always been a believer that a quail is a quail and that it doesn't become an ostrich when it scurries across a border. I could not imagine how a marketing M.B.A. blindsided (GM Vice Chairman) Robert Lutz and (GM CEO) Rick Wagoner into subscribing to the (mistaken) theory that a marketplace perception is far more important than the product itself.
Remember? Not too many years ago, the sunroof of the Czech-built Skoda was jokingly referred to as its escape hatch. Today, with kudos to Volkswagen, Skoda vehicles are regarded as some of the best-built in Europe. In fact, Skodas often receive higher quality scores than VWs.
Unlike GM, VW resisted the temptation to play the name-change game during the metamorphosis of Skoda quality and let the marketplace determine the product's eventual value rather than assuming that consumers will simply buy into a perception earned by another brand.
Should the perception of Chevrolet begin to decline in any way, it would appear that the theory of perception-borrowing could only backfire.
Why can't GM just be straightforward with the public?
Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
The writer is a retired automotive executive.