Yes, the DaimlerChrysler merger was and is a mistake ("Stalled," Cover Story, European Edition, and Corporation, Asian Edition, Sept. 29). And the decision to merge Mitsubishi [Motor Corp.] into the package is even worse. After many years of working in the world automotive market and coming from the Midwest, I feel I know all the companies very well. Your excellent article covered the dramatic situation very well, but there are a few things not said.
The people who have traditionally bought Chrysler products are generally technically oriented, Midwestern, and patriotic. Chrysler was always seen as the preeminent American strategic company, as, in a way, both Daimler and Mitsubishi were, in their respective countries (tanks, missiles, military vehicles, secret projects, etc.). Now, for those who remember, the enemy is winning.
Germans are still seen as anti-American rivals, and the Japanese are even more so, with Mitsubishi the proud symbol of their military might. (The Mitsubishi Zero attacked Pearl Harbor.) Nobody in this age of globalization wants to be reminded of these ugly submerged facts, but they exist even if DaimlerChrysler CEO J?rgen E. Schrempp wishes to ignore them.
It is extremely difficult to merge companies in general, but even more so companies that have been from their birth so identified with strategic national interests. For American strategic strength, we must have strong engineering companies like Chrysler. Chrysler should return to be the best of American engineering -- if it is not too late.
The merger was deceitful from the beginning. A truly equal partnership was never envisioned by Mercedes. The U.S. car-buying public hoped Mercedes would bring a visible quality increase to match Chrysler's innovative designs. Instead, the Germans busied themselves maneuvering Chrysler's top brass out of the picture while doing nothing for the Chrysler line. No way to sell cars.
It is no surprise that the DaimlerChrysler deal is a disaster. Chrysler products continue their long track record of shoddy workmanship, poor attention to detail, and customer indifference. I'm an unfortunate Jeep Grand Cherokee owner with more than 20 visits to various dealerships to fix just about everything. I've written to Mr. Schrempp and Chrysler Group Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche, and received no satisfaction. Most companies realize the importance of quality control and treating the customer right. DaimlerChrysler just doesn't get it.
Charlotte, N.C. I completely agree with General Wesley K. Clark that the Iraq war is a mistake for several reasons ("Clark: What's wrong with U.S. policy in Iraq," American News, Sept. 29). One dominant factor is the fact that comparatively superior armed forces aren't enough when it comes to securing democracy, pluralism, and human rights.
Clark is correct in pointing out that the U.S. armed forces are sinking into deeper problems in Iraq exactly because of ill-conceived plans and little understanding of the practical dynamics of the Middle East society. Consequently, the attacks are not going to disappear as long the Bush Administration adamantly opposes handing over greater authority to the U.N. and the international community.
Atilla A. Iftikhar
Istanbul Toray Industries Inc., established in 1926, is not Japan's first rayon producer ("Stealth makeover, Asian Business, Sept. 29). The credit goes to small, now obscure Azuma Industries Ltd., which began the fiber's production in 1915 at Yonezawa, in northern Honshu. After 1918, the operation was transferred to Azuma's new subsidiary, TeiKoKu Rayon Co., generally known as Teijin. Teijin Ltd. remains a Toray rival in polyester and nylon, etc.
Kanazawa City, Japan I market sunglasses made in China to convenience stores. I just read "The comeback kids" (E.Biz, Sept. 29) and am completely impressed by the intellect and aptitude [of these entrepreneurs].
I am now also completely depressed.