To the Editor:
Richard Truett's July 3 Comment column, "Coventry: When the wheels came loose," was a wonderful perspective written by one who delights in the English language.
My family moved to Germany in 1959, when I was 8 years old, and my parents decided to send me to boarding school in England.
I spent two years there, and as a very early car enthusiast, I remember the golden days of England's auto industry: the Rovers, Sunbeams, MGs, Jags (I was there when the E-Type came out and remember the hysteria), Austins, Morrises, Minis, Rollers (Rolls-Royces), Bentleys and, especially, the old London taxis.
They were peculiar-looking cars in some cases, but the boys in my school were fanatical about their favorite marques, and their enthusiasm rubbed off on me.
The wood dashes, push-button starters (now back in vogue), the smell of the leather, antique "demisting" systems that never worked are great memories, as is the lost reputation for associating "Made in England" with workmanship and quality.
I have been back to England many times, and I lament the changes. It is saddening to watch Detroit shrinking while, at the same time, the Japanese are opening factories here.
Good leadership has always been associated with great vision and passion that infects everyone in an organization.
All successful turnaround stories can point to someone who has led the charge, while the failures are the result of visionless leaders too reliant on finance, accounting and reorganizations a la British Leyland, which ultimately was killed by too much financial homogenization. Perhaps leadership and passion is what is missing in Detroit.