Question of the Month
June 2001

Will Covisint ultimately be successful as a for-profit company?

Yes 100% No 0%

Covisint will make it

I believe that Covisint will be successful as a for-profit company. With the combined strength of the Big Three behind them, they'll make it.

I also believe that Kevin English is the right choice to be CEO.
Jeff Halvorsen
Customer Service/Support Specialist SPX Corp.
Warren, MI

Oldsmobile lament

Wouldn't it be nice to hear the words of the new Oldsmobile Rocket engine, the Rocket II V-8 engine or the Rocket IV V-8 engine? Tie this in with the Indy Racing League and Oldsmobile would have the performance image. Aurora engine? Most folks don't know it is an Oldsmobile engine. We need to bring back “daddy's Oldsmobile.” The rear-wheel-drive 88, 98, and Cutlass Supreme are cars people relate to. Instead of the Oldsmobile Rocket emblem, we have an oval with a wave in it and names like Aurora, Intrigue, Alero and Bravada. Oldsmobile lost its identity and its image.
Dwight W. Bare
Retired Senior Engineering Technician
GM Desert Proving Ground
Mesa, AZ

A little more control

I agree with Drew Winter wholeheartedly (see WAW — April '01, p.9): An SUV is not a Corvette and will not handle as such. The people driving the large SUVs are out of control most of the time. They have no idea what would happen at their cruise speed if they jammed on the brakes and tried to panic stop. Most would lose control and roll over, plus they would probably not have their seat belt on and would be ejected.
Harold A. Schwartz, P.E.
Red Lion, PA

Ford fan is a skeptic

I was a Ford man for 40 years. No more. It all ended when I witnessed that little dandy who runs Ford go on TV in his wrinkle-free outfit to deny that Ford had any responsibility in the Explorer crashes. It was right out of the “I did not have sex with that woman” playbook. It defies logic to suggest that this problem is 100% Firestone's. Case in point: Why did Ford advise Explorer owners to reduce the tire pressure to 26 lbs.? If Ford had any integrity, leadership, or concern for their Explorer customers, they would have pledged early on to do whatever it took to get to the bottom of the problem, and worry about the blame game later.

And now we have you singing the same song. Makes one wonder just how impartial your magazine really is? Jacques Nasser playing “cover your ass” is not that surprising. But Drew Winter playing “kiss Jacques Nasser's ass” has tarnished the reputation of both you and your publication. Shame on you.
Steve Bruning
President
Bruning Engineering Inc.
Vista, CA

Exodus is costly

Re: Stephan Sharf's “Wake Up, America” (see WAW — June '01, p. 19) talking about manufacturing moving out of the United States. With major companies jumping on every asinine “business idea” from overseas they have been destroying the small independent value-added manufacturing base. Using everything from “just in time” to “downsizing our supplier base” and the ever-popular “productivity giveback” the multi-nationals have decimated small independent businesses. This is what happens when you have paper pushers running organizations who don't understand and can't relate to what is manufactured in their plants. All their “decisions” are based on profit at any cost and with no thought of the future!
Jeffrey Scott
Troy, MI

Some things I see abroad, that I don't see much of (if at all) here;

  1. An education system focused on learning math, science, physics, etc.:

  2. Internships and apprenticeships:

Here in America, we take some kid who got a business degree from a prestigious school and make him a manager. This kid went to school most typically because his family has the money for him to go. And the vast majority of these kids, coming from advantaged families, have never had to fix a thing in their life. Their bike breaks, mommy and daddy buy a new one.
Leonard Misner
Federal-Mogul
Sr. Manufacturing Engineer

No rewards for virtue

Drew Winter's editorial and Jerry Flint's “Young Losers” (see WAW — June '01, pp.5, 13) caught my eye.

Being young (25), I find articles about what a bunch of slackers Gen-X'ers are quite amusing.

I think Drew, and to some extent Flint, hit on something, though. My generation doesn't have an appreciation for “hard work.” Money is easily come by nowadays, and we've realized that we don't need to pull 50 to 60+ hour weeks to “get ahead.” All we need are ideas, a little computer savvy, and we're home free.

But the root of the problem isn't “us,” it's our companies. Jerry claims that people are too easily lured away from their jobs with money, or per Drew's story, BMWs. It's not that we jump at the glamor, it's that we know our company will turn its back on us just as quickly.
Paul Critchley

Numbers don't hold all the answers

I was so energized by Jerry Flint's column (see WAW — June '01, p.13), I had to start somewhere.

The universities sold the MBA/MBM degrees so well that they became the shortcut to higher salaries and positions.

Shame on industry for not having succession plans for their valuable employees and thinking that a master's level graduate could be simply “plugged in” to run the business. Shame on industry for promoting incompetence to a higher level, for not developing talent. Shame on society for supporting the idea of having it all before you're 35.

Managing the business by the numbers is a surefire method to disillusion the workforce and eliminate allegiance and loyalty. A professional workforce is an investment, not a commodity.
David A. Klemenz

Consistency builds loyalty, too

The continuing discussion of the “lack of change” on the Saturn S-series misses an important point. I believe that Saturn wanted to go after what can best be described as the “lasting value” segment with: (1) low initial purchase price, (2) low operational and maintenance costs, and (3) high residual value. Other vehicles with these characteristics are VW's original Beetle and Toyota's Corolla. Frequent cosmetic exterior changes are not what some buyers seek. They prefer incremental, under-the-skin improvements, year by year.
Norm Carter
GM Powertrain
Saginaw, MI

It's natural

Wow. Rarely am I touched by an article, but Alisa Priddle's “Natural Wonder” article (see WAW — May '01, p.64) about GM and Brazil is amazing. I hope this results in lots of industry recognition for them. Thanks for bringing the story to life.
Annette Shimada
Principal
Kickstart Inc.

He likes his Hyundai

I don't know if you have driven a Buick lately but their interior design leaves a lot to be desired. This includes the LaSabre and the Century Custom. As for quality, I have had less repairs with the three Hyundais I have owned than with the Ford or Nissans that I drove. Sometimes I think that most testers base their opinions on their maybe-not-so-perfect memories of growing up as a passenger in their fathers' Buick or Oldsmobile.
Richard Deason

He likes old Pontiacs

We have two Bonnevilles in the family, a '91 and a '97. We love these cars. The new 2000 and 2001 model? Too much boy-racer plastic. The Bonneville is not supposed to be a big Grand Am. It is supposed to look muscular, balanced, if not also somewhat graceful, and of primary appeal to the folks who can afford them. The new one looks like an expensive toy, and I would feel somewhat embarrassed to be caught wearing one.
A former GM sedan buyer

Question of the Month
August 2001

Will the Cadillac CTS bring GM out of the design doldrums?

YesNo

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