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Why Europe Still Has A Long Way To Go To Be Competitive

I loved "Every little reform counts" (European Business, Mar. 7), especially the photo showing one person working on the rail tracks and at least 11 others standing in the background doing nothing! At least they are not all doing nothing.

Thomas E. Vollmann

IMD International

Lausanne, Switzerland

However much and however many reforms European countries introduce to be more competitive in the ever-increasing global economy, they will still lag behind and face lackluster growth unless they become more open to highly skilled immigrant workers and students from India, China, and other Asian countries. That would not only require reforms of their economic and immigration policies but a far more profound change in the perceptions of Europeans toward foreigners.

Srinivas Balla

Fairfax, Va.

Ultimately, all of the good things Audi is doing are lost because of their almost total lack of customer commitment ("Hot Audi," Cover Story, Mar. 14). Last year I was unable to purchase a VW because of the manner in which Volkswagen of America Inc. packages and markets its vehicles in the U.S., which is unlike their marketing techniques In Europe. My reaction was to go to Audi. I was happy to notice that the automobile configuration I desired appeared to be easily obtained with the right mixture of options. Unfortunately, the dealers I went to refused to order the car for me. Audi deliberately lost a customer who has purchased three automobiles from Volkswagen Group in the past five years.

Clearly, Audi and, indeed, the entire Volkswagen Group have a long way to go when it comes to understanding and pleasing their customers.

Bruce Broadley

West Nyack, N.Y.

While it's always nice to read good news about one's country, your article "It's hot south of the border" (Business Outlook, Mar. 7), on the apparent boom of the Mexican economy, fails to mention that it is dangerously dependent on two external factors: oil, a highly volatile commodity, and the workers' fund-transfers. Both are shameful proof of past and present administrations' dismal failure to provide domestic jobs under a chronically stagnant economy. The only way to stop the hemorrhage of being an exporter of labor in the literal sense is to create a vigorous domestic job market. The flip side is the hypocrisy of not admitting the U.S. need for cheap labor, which contradicts its schizoid defensive posture of trying to stem the tide.

Carlos Salas-Porras

Ciudad Ju?rez, Mexico

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