ROBERT A. LUTZ, Vice Chairman, Global Product Development, General Motors, Detroit. Lutz retired as vice chairman of Chrysler Corp in 1998. He was executive vice president of Chrysler Motors in 1987, when Chrysler acquired American Motors.
AMC didn't run with the SUV
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To the Editor:
Patrick R. Foster's March 6 column, "GM could learn plenty from AMC" was good, but there was a serious error near the end.
AMC went downhill and needed to be rescued because it failed to capitalize on or believe in the growing success of the XJ Cherokee. Instead of producing more or additional versions of that vehicle, AMC had a blind obsession to become a factor in cars again. This produced a string of French-designed, expensive, lackluster cars that drained resources.
The smartest thing Chrysler did after the acquisition was to boost the SUV to the max and cancel all the unprofitable AMC cars as quickly as possible.
The SUV market never "got tough" in those days -- it was the heyday of growth. AMC didn't capitalize on it.
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