No Knight in Shining Armor

In response to your May feature concerning the acquisition of the DaimlerChrysler New Castle machining plant by Metaldyne (see WAW — May '04, p.40), I would like to clarify a few points. As a former Chrysler employee at this facility, I was part of the “angry mob” at the November 2002 meeting in which the announcement was made.

Hardly a neglected factory on its way down the tubes, the very building in which that meeting was held was, in fact, a brand new facility — one that was promised as the first phase in a 3-part improvement plan for New Castle. Prior to Metaldyne's announcement, the workforce was shown architectural drawings of just how our new plant would eventually look — if only we would agree to a few concessions.

This we did, with the understanding we were securing our future as New Castle Chrysler employees. The first building was not even finished by the time of the November announcement. So Tim Leuliette (Metaldyne CEO) is not quite the knight in shining armor you present him to be, and he shouldn't have been at all surprised at the reaction he got.
James Appleby
Muncie, IN

Dying With Dignity

General Motors' real greatness occurred during the years of Alfred Sloan's “great opportunity” — the Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell decades — when they helped write the American Dream, when there was no international competition.

But as great teachers ultimately by their pupils shall be taught, the foreign nameplates not only brought pragmatism and volume, they also brought unmatched prestige. To Jerry Flint I would say (see WAW — May '04, p.56), let Oldsmobile and Buick, those great nameplates of the past, die and be remembered with the dignity they commanded during their day — like Duesenberg and others — and let GM concentrate on finding its place in the warming sun of the 21st century.
Pierre Joubert
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Industry Needs Crash Avoidance

John McElroy's column in AutoWorld (see WAW — May '04, p.37) focused on automotive safety, particularly seatbelts, as well as fuel economy. We recognize that crash protection is important, but not to the exclusion of doing all that is possible to prevent crashes from happening in the first place — an approach that has been largely ignored for many years.

Thankfully, Dr. Jeff Runge of NHTSA recently called for a shift in focus to help address the epidemic in crashes that is occurring in this country. We manufacture products for both active and passive safety, but our key emphasis is on avoiding the crash before it occurs.

Developments in electronics are enabling reliable safety enhancements that make driving much safer and more enjoyable. In addition to electronic stability control, these include adaptive cruise control, brake assist, lane-departure warning, seatbelt pretensioners and active rollover protection.
William L. Kozyra
President and CEO
Continental Teves North America

Pro/Con on Gay Story

I have been enjoying Ward's AutoWorld for years, but the April issue has brought disappointment. I understand your reason for publishing the article, but the cover appears to be an “advertisement” promoting homosexuality. Ward's should be ashamed.

It's a sad commentary that corporate heads are not brave enough to do what is right, and stop giving in to the sexual deviates' demands. At no time in recorded history has any civilization recognized same-sex couples as married. What same-sex couple can naturally reproduce?
Jay Garretson
Warren, OH

If the letters in your May issue regarding marketing to the gay/lesbian community are representative of the thinking in the automotive industry, I'm surprised we're still not riding around in Model T's. And kudos to GM for recognizing all segments of their buying public. So while others walk, I'm going to continue to buy GM products that are stylish and so very 21st century.
Paul Selzam
New York

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