What was she thinking?

Automobile aficionados admire the design contributions that Harley Earl made to the industry. So, I was shocked when one of GM's top designers, Anne Asensio, made negative remarks in your recent “Star Power” cover story (see WAW — Feb. '03, p.34).

What was she thinking? Certainly not about how publicly torpedoing Harley Earl and his work is a big mistake. It's blasphemy because this one person left behind a legacy in design that can never be superseded.

Sadly, many design execs don't understand the fundamentals of auto design history. So they end up having a jealous axe to grind with Earl and his achievements. Harley Earl created the first design monopoly, which is why he became the first superstar designer.

I've sat down with Ford's J Mays, and he knows Earl is a giant contemporary artist of the 20th century. Mr. Mays understands how Earl introduced the “modern art of industry” to all designers who would come later.
Richard Earl
Royal Oak, MI

(Mr. Earl has spent the last five years researching material for an upcoming biography on his grandfather. To find out more, visit the Official Harley Earl Website: www.carofthecentury.com.)

Hybrids need promotion

In your February editorial (Feb. '03, p. 5), you unfairly lumped environmentalists into a category of individuals who do not support what the auto industry manufactures as environmentally clean vehicles. Your comment, “In short: Put up or shut up,” has done nothing but enrage the environmental groups that you singled out.

Environmentally friendly vehicles don't sell because the auto industry does not promote them as they do their high-profit platforms. When was the last time a vehicle manufacturer actually promoted any environmentally friendly automobile?

A hybrid vehicle is the bridge to a fuel cell-powered car. If the industry does not sell the consumer on hybrids today, in another decade when, and if, a fuel cell vehicle arrives, the truth will come out that a fuel cell-powered vehicle is not as clean for the environment as the industry says. And none of those vehicles will get pre-sale orders at an auto show, either.
Daniel R. Wimer
Fairport, NY

Flint too negative

On the topic of fuel cells and hybrids, please shut-up Jerry Flint once and for all (see WAW — March '03, p.64).

He is the most ardent Luddite on Earth. Why don't you publish positive articles on hydrogen propulsion authored by Larry Burns, V.P. of GM Research? Mr. Flint relentlessly spouts moronic gibberish that contributes nothing positive to our beloved nation. I am tired of his anti-innovation, anti-technology, anti-progress rhetoric.

As a GM manager, I am proud of the aggressive pro-hydrogen stance our CEO, Rick Wagoner, is taking. Our GM internal newsline has significant fuel cell progress reports daily.
Gary Buxton
Electrical IT Leader
General Motors Corp.

VW, not DC, pioneered minivan

How long will Ward's (and others) tell us Chrysler “invented the minivan?” (see WAW — Dec. '02, p.34). The first time I read that howler, Pat Choate had written it.

Volkswagen “invented” — for American roads — the minivan/microbus/minicamper, and sold them here for 20+ years before Chrysler “invented” them.

Underpowered and always in the way, they couldn't help but be noticed by the people who assert Chrysler invented them.
Howard Sitton
Carmel Valley, CA


Our interview in the March Ward's AutoWorld with Mercedes-Benz CEO Juergen Hubbert (see p.22) featured the headline: “Quality: Priority Ein.”

Several German-speaking readers tell us that while the story referred to German quality, they had a problem with the quality of our German. The tense for “one” in the headline should have been Eins, not Ein. Please forgive us. Es tut uns leid.

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