To the Editor:
Thanks to Peter Brown for the great commentary on the recent Ford plan ("The wait's over -- so what's the plan?"). It's tough in Southeast Michigan to find the right language to describe the auto industry's struggle, but Brown did a very good job in his Jan. 30 column.
I think all of us in metropolitan Detroit and the auto business must expect our auto leaders to exhibit leadership. I prefer not to be insulting, but I often find myself using strong language to describe the dearth of leadership in our hometown industry.
All leaders have a vision. Business leaders must be able to communicate their vision with business plans -- at least marketing and finance strategies. I keep waiting for growth strategies from the RenCen (GM) and Glass House (Ford).
There's nothing magical about Toyota. It cares what the customer thinks; it manufactures with quality; and it knows how to manage a competitive and cyclical business. Michigan people can do that.
One of the strategic blunders in Autotown has been the expensive and poorly conceived attempt to take Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge upscale for product development. Those are NASCAR brands. The Big 3 can sell upscale products, but through different marques.
At this time, Ford Motor Co.'s financial health depends a lot on the performance of the Blue Oval brand (Ford). It did not sound like the Ford leaders had a concrete plan on Jan. 23. I wish them well, but they better get going.