Column Showed Ford President's Dealer Relations Steve Finlay's Sept. '99 column on Ford Div. President Jim O'Connor and his relationships with dealerships was really a terrific article.

It was accurate insight into O'Connor, his relationship with dealers and how he goes about doing his job.

Anne Doyle Ford Public Affairs Director Dearborn, MI

Non-Factory Part can Replace Factory Part In the August '99 issue, Craig Nelson advises that, in order to avoid warranty chargebacks, dealers should "not use parts not purchased from the factory."

We are an independent supplier of genuine Subaru and Toyota parts. Our response:

The factory warranty covers the defective or failed parts coming out of the car. The performance of that warranty cannot require installation of parts purchased from the carmaker.

It's my understanding that dealers have the legal right to purchase parts from any supplier they wish to use, and that they can use those parts to replace parts which failed while covered by the carmaker's warranty. In that case, the warranty provided by the parts supplier and parts maker would cover the parts being installed.

Ken Lawrence President Northeast Imports Parts & Accessories Inc. Rohnert Park, CA

Get a Lee Iacocca-type to Run GM In my decades as a GM dealer, I've seen an industry leader with over 50% of the market fall to a pitiful resemblance of the former giant. Now we have approximately 29% market share.

GM began its fall because of complacency and arrogance in the marketplace. During the Roger Smith era the process was hastened by a multi-billion dollar investment in Saturn Corp. This money should have been invested in existing divisions and their products.

The problem is, and has been for several years, P-R-O-D-U-C-T.

Our problem is not the dealer body, nor their location, facilities or pricing policy. Many, if not most, GM dealers are doing a great job and making a lot of money selling other products and used cars.

GM dealers have, can and will provide the sales and service, if GM will give them the product, and refrain from meddling in the retail end of the business.

Hire one top "automobile man" to head up the organization, and give him the money and control to do the job. Chrysler did this several years ago. The results? A seemingly doomed corporation was turned into one of today's top auto companies.

Wake up GM. Get some car people running the show. Get a Lee Iacocca to do it!

Name Withheld Upon request