To the Editor:
Lindsay Chappell's March 16 commentary encouraging Jaguar Land Rover to build a North American plant ("A JLR plant in N. America? Do it already," autonews.com) overlooks perhaps one of the most imaginative and successful variations on that theme: Subaru-Isuzu Automotive, the shared plant in Lafayette, Ind.
Both Isuzu and Subaru parent Fuji Heavy Industries understood the value of U.S. production. Unable to go it alone, the progressive thinkers at those competing companies decided to share a single facility -- in the parlance of the day, a transplant.
That SIA was a success from the outset is undeniable. In later years, Subaru assumed the entire operation (as Subaru of Indiana Automotive) and clearly benefited from that imaginative collaboration.
My public relations firm represented Isuzu for 18 years. I was there on a wintry morning when the land was mapped out with tiny flags, when the concrete was poured and walls were put up. I was on hand for the dedication, the opening and the many milestone product roll-offs.
The concept had many skeptics. Neither Subaru nor Isuzu deviated from the original course.
SIA was a hallmark for the industry and is unfortunately often overlooked.
Freeman/McCue Public Relations
Aliso Viejo, Calif.