Your Cover Story on the American auto industry's troubles attracting younger customers was an accurate portrayal of my generation's total disdain for anything emanating from the Motor City ("Can Detroit make cars that baby boomers like?" Dec. 1).
As a Camelot baby boomer, I paid attention to Detroit throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The muscle-car years, perhaps Detroit's last golden age,
created a huge customer base when the boomers graduated from living room Hot-Wheels tracks to real asphalt. We all matured into young adulthood driving used Chevys, Fords, and Dodges, which seemed to run forever.
Like many of my peers, I chose a Chevy (the new Cavalier) right off the showroom floor as my first new car. The original Cavaliers were the worst excuse for an auto since the Corvair-Pinto-Vega era.
My 1980s Chevy never saw the 1990s. I just purchased my second Honda, and I still drive my 1986 Subaru (with over 129,000 miles and counting). Good luck, Detroit.
In the early '70s, when the first big wave of boomers walked into dealerships, Detroit failed to recognize and respond to the fact that half of them were women. The positioning of the controls and the seat adjustability were designed for average-size American men. To the average-size woman, American cars felt like the wrong-size roller skate.
I presume that Japanese cars of the day were designed to accommodate shorter Asian men. For women, imports were a better fit and therefore more fun to drive.
Atlantic Conferences Inc.
A new car every other year is not my life priority. I got my Mercury Sable because it had more amenities and tons more room than my Toyota Camry. In addition, a good supply of products meant a great deal.
Marsha L. Keeffer
Scotts Valley, Calif.
U.S. auto makers don't have a clue. They are still producing gas guzzlers--sport-utility vehicles and trucks--at a time when petroleum resources worldwide continue to dwindle. And the quality is still far from that which is available in foreign models, Japanese and European alike.
Is it any wonder that we baby boomers choose to buy the cars we do?
The real story is that nothing has changed in Detroit: The old arrogance is alive, well--and in complete control. My Mercury Sable was delivered with defective motor mounts; it is now on its fourth set at more than $250 per set.
Further, after two tries and $200, I have given up on having my local dealer replace a $12 interior trim piece.
David W. Harlowe
I switched from European cars to American cars in 1991, buying one by Chrysler and one by Ford, and I wound up with two limes--not quite lemons, but nothing to write home about either. Next time, I'll give a Japanese car a try.
We bought our second Ford Escort because we wanted trouble-free, economical transportation, and it delivered that. It has as much pizzazz as any previous U.S.-made car we've owned. But even to this 72-year-old, the car's all-gray driver's compartment gives the feeling of sitting inside a fully instrumented egg carton. Perhaps this is Ford's way of telling me, "You cheapskate! You should've bought a Taurus."