Separating Fact, Fiction

I appreciated the article from John McElroy (see WAW - Jan. '09, p.8). While attending a number of holiday parties, I had the misfortune of being the target of too many individuals who wanted to share their take on why the “Big Three” should fail or why the government should not “bail” them out.

I worked for one Detroit auto maker for more than 41 years and was the quality manager for 10 years at one location, so I guess they thought I should hear them out and provide my defense. Of course, most took pleasure in repeating the misconceptions that John spoke of in his article. Wish I had his article with me at the time. It would have saved me a lot of unnecessary talk and frustration.

I fear I may have lost some of these friends forever since I shared a lot of what John stated in his article. Obviously, that's not what they wanted to hear. What upset me the most is that many of these individuals were quoting myths or misconceptions they picked up from news/TV/radio commentators who were sharing stories from some of our misinformed senators and congressmen.

I wish all these people would get their facts right before they perpetuate these myths. Maybe you could send each of them a copy of this article or your magazine so they can become better informed before they speak next time.
J.A. Reed
Cleveland, Oh

Chapter 11 Benefits Public

I agree with your article regarding the politically charged politicians not understanding the role the auto industry plays in the U.S. economy. I'll buy the bailout, but the unions are going to have to share the pain with the rest of the country.

I remember all the weeping and gnashing of teeth when the airlines started failing and filing Chapter 11, but they had to break the union stranglehold on their businesses. Everybody shared in their pain - the investors, unions and management.

But the ones who won are the flying public. Have you flown on Continental lately? What a pleasant difference from the old, pre-bankruptcy company. I am thinking something along those lines has to happen in Detroit.
Ron Otero
Anchorage, AL

Give Us Diesel!

While the United Kingdom can sell 65-mpg (3.6 L/100 km) diesels, our American executives still don't understand that we want that kind of mileage, too. Diesels provide it, and everyone will gravitate toward it.

I feel your article does not correctly quantify the true buying public's motivations (see WAW - Jan. '09, p.31).

I drive a Ford F-150 with a 5.4L Triton V-8. I would drive a scooter for 65 mpg. I am spreading the word. I appreciate you spreading it also!
Tony Andrews
Dearborn, MI

Editor's Note: Ford won't bring those diesels to the U.S. because diesel technology adds too much to the cost of such an entry-level car. Exhaust aftertreatment systems to meet tougher U.S. standards on oxides of nitrogen emissions adds $1,500 to the sticker. Plus, diesel fuel is more expensive in the U.S. than regular unleaded, unlike Europe.

VW sold a great little car called the Lupo in Europe some years ago that got 70 mpg (3.3 L/100 km). It was discontinued because it was too expensive, even for European consumers. We're big diesel fans, but it's just too tough of a sale to value-conscious consumers in the B-car segment.

Clarification

A January review of the new Honda Insight (see WAW - Jan. '09, pp.38) should have said the vehicle will be marketed as a '10 model, and that the SOHC 1.3L engine will be branded as an i-VTEC I-4. The curb weight for the EX trim should have been listed as 2,727 lbs. (1,236 kg). Honda changed the vehicle specs after the magazine went to press.

We want your feedback. Please email comments to Editor Drew Winter at dwinter@wardsauto.com. Include your name, city and state. Letters may be edited for clarity and length.