In reference to "The Partners" (Cover Story, Feb. 10), you're way off base in your assessment of Ford and Mazda Motors' strategic alliance. Ford ceded its small-car design and manufacturing to Mazda because it couldn't do the job itself. The alliance is a symptom of Ford's weakness in manufacturing and product development, not a solution. As for Ford's much-vaunted presence in Japan, the "Ford-badged" Mazdas being sold in Japan create zero jobs for Americans and have virtually no U.S. content.
By far Ford's biggest manpower commitment (in Hiroshima) is devoted to sourcing Japanese-built cars and parts for the U.S. You call that success?
These alliances don't address two fundamental problems of the U.S. automobile industry: The Big Three still won't or can't make cars in the U. S. for the Japanese market. And they are unable to produce smaller cars for the U.S. market. If this teaming offers "a lesson in cooperation," then the lesson is that the U.S. should throw in the towel and become marketing and distribution arms of Japanese manufacturers.