Cadillac Turning Corner

I read your article about the Cadillac STS, and it sounds impressive (see WAW — Sept. '04, p.50). To think that only after a couple of decades, an American auto maker finally has a clue again. The Europeans and more recently the Japanese have been killing the Big Three — especially Cadillac — with quality, style, durability and most importantly, safety.

I have learned that just because a vehicle is new, GM will not necessarily put a dime into its safety design, as they try to bolt on safety, instead of designing it into their cars and SUVs. They think a car with OnStar makes it safer? Come on, that just tells the police where an accident happened, and the coroner may be needed to pick up some unfortunate victims.

If, in fact, the car fares well for crash safety, Cadillac may have another buyer or two. Americans are finally starting to demand safer vehicles, yet they still tell the Big Three that they will buy what the dealer has, and look at how the car does for safety later. We tend to put the cart before the horse.

I have been waiting patiently for American auto makers to turn around. Your article tells me we might have made that turn.

Mike Roberts
Bergstrom Inc. Development & Validation Engineer
Rockford, IL

Imitation is the highest form of flattery. Hooray for Cadillac, but BMW is the Ultimate Driving Machine and for my dime always will be.

Steve Lowery
Plant Engineer
Siemens VDO Automotive
Huntsville, AL

Diesel Steps Backward

As impressive as 38 miles per gallon (6L/100 km) on the highway might appear to a driver of a typical gasoline-powered vehicle, it is actually a huge step back as far as diesel drivers are concerned (see WAW — Sept. '04, p.51).

I own a '96 Passat TDI, which just passed 117,000 miles (188,288 km). The average fuel consumption over the entire time (including long trips, commuting to work, city driving, summer, winter, etc.) was slightly over 51 mpg (4.6L/100 km).

With my car I drive all the way from Connecticut to Florida, which I do relatively often, with only one fuel stop.

Ilija Djordjevic
Chief Design Engineer-Fuel Pumps
Stanadyne Automotive Corp.
Windsor, CT

Ease Up On Throttle

I read William Kozyra's suggestion that auto makers shift their focus from crash protection to crash prevention (see WAW — July '04, p.7). I think if new drivers would refrain from going to the Tony Stewart School of Driving, at least the number of rear-end accidents would be greatly reduced.

Jack Fultz
Logansport, IN

U.S. Should Build GTO

Everything I have read about the lackluster sales for the Pontiac GTO revival keeps focusing on the actual car (see WAW — Aug. '04, p.42). I think they are missing the real problem: It is built in Australia! A revival of a “Classic American” muscle car, built in another country? Boy, did GM miss the marketing demographics on this one. I would bet if they had named it “G12” or the like, it would have sold much better.

With rear-wheel-drive, a big engine and “sleeper” styling, the build location would have not been an issue. I have had conversations with friends about the new GTO, and not once has the car been the topic. It has always been the foreign build location. That is not a good sign. No one can say the actual effect on sales, but I can point out that at least one was lost due to the foreign build: mine.

I have owned many Pontiacs and was about to buy the 40th anniversary Grand Prix when I got wind that the GTO would be coming out soon. I decided to wait for the GTO, until I found out it would be built in Australia. I changed my mind, sight unseen, went back and bought the 40th anniversary Grand Prix. It is too bad Pontiac went overseas for the build because I think the market is ripe for the right “American” retro machine.

Jim Payne
Flint, MI

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