TO THE EDITOR:
I read Keith Crain’s Oct. 2 column, “It never is their fault,” with interest. As a member of a family automotive enterprise that began with my grandfather’s Ford dealership in Hope, Ark., in 1921 and is now in its fourth generation, I certainly related — as I’m sure many other readers and dealers did as well.
My sons, Mark and Franklin, and I are standing on my father’s and grandfather’s shoulders, not only in terms of the business, but the values we try to bring to our work and our relationships. Crain’s piece brought to mind something my father used to say as he reflected on the natural tension between dealer and factory.
He’d tell me there was a choice about how to approach that crucial partnership.
One way was to be on high alert whenever factory representatives showed up or called — especially if they said, “We’re here to help.”
The other — the way he chose — was to view it as a two-way street, where both sides had to work in an open, engaged and respectful way with each other. Sometimes, that might mean airing differences, as is required in any close relationship. But, at its best, an approach built on trust resulted in locked arms instead of pointed fingers, and better results for everyone — most importantly, our valued customers.
MACK McLARTY, Vice chairman, RML Automotive, Little Rock, Ark.