To the Editor:
I see three things wrong with the Chrysler group's new Imperial concept as presented in the May 1 article ("Chrysler looks to Imperial to go upscale").
1. The seeds of the new Imperial's failure are contained in the very first paragraph, in which Chrysler executives are said to believe that a new Imperial can steal away Cadillac and Lincoln buyers -- and BMW buyers.
Nonsense! I just spent a year selling Cadillacs, and I can tell you that not once did I take a BMW in trade on a new Cadillac. New BMW buyers are simply not interested in Cadillacs or Lincolns, period, and they won't be interested in a new Imperial either.
Folks, please decide what you want the Imperial to be before you make it. It can compete against the Cadillac and the Lincoln or against the BMW, but not both.
2. The article is a perfect illustration of what is wrong with the American car industry today: American carmakers are marketing-driven. The most successful carmakers in the world right now (Toyota, Honda, etc.) are engineering-driven.
Marketing executives are quoted in your article. Not a single engineer is quoted or even interviewed. In other words, the very thing that made Chrysler what it was in its heyday -- engineering greatness -- is not even playing a role in the decision to build the new Imperial.
3. Last but not least, a Chrysler group executive says the new Imperial will be targeted at baby boomers. Well, I'm a baby boomer, and I think the design of the car stinks. If they want to sell the new Imperial to baby boomers, they should get a baby boomer to design it. Right now, it looks as if it was designed by a 28-year-old for a 22-year-old. I bet it even has a place to hold an iPod.