Ford's Zimmermann is dreaming
I AM A regular reader of Automotive News Europe. My firm has been associated with key suppliers of machinery and automated systems to the automotive industry for 30 years.
I write with reference to comments made by Rolf Zimmermann, vice president for manufacturing at Ford of Europe, in the article titled 'Ford asks suppliers to share start-up risks' (October 9 edition).
Mr Zimmermann, with due respect, seems to be a dreamer by proposing that suppliers of capital equipment should sell their products to Ford on a contingency basis.
It seems to me that Mr Zimmermann has probably made his career out of manufacturing skills, and has no clue of what financing sciences are all about in a free world.
In free economies, investments and risks are taken by the ultimate beneficiary of profits - or losses, of course. The scenario described by Mr Zimmermann shows suppliers taking risks and sharing investments with Ford, at totally unsecured and uncertain returns. There is the risk of total loss should Ford's projects fail to take off.
In my opinion, Mr Zimmermann's ideas are pure utopia. I would like to ask him whether Ford is also willing to offer participant suppliers - or 'risk takers' - some sort of profit sharing on these projects.
If that is not the case, I strongly recommend that Ford change the term used to define the first participants selected to take part in its proposed program. These companies have not been 'awarded' certain projects or orders by Ford - they have actually being 'victimized.' Time will show their terrible mistake.
Lee J. Arruda
Vice President, International Logistics
No special handling of affluent buyers
THE NEWS story 'Ford Training' on Page 3 of your December 4 issue is rubbish. The story reported that Ford sales personnel were being trained by Jaguar and Volvo employees in Sardinia on how to deal with wealthy customers. In fact, there were 18,000 people on Sardinia to get to know the new Ford Mondeo. I was there twice, and did not see anyone from either Jaguar or Volvo.
Public and Governmental affairs
What can Chrysler buyers do about Schrempp?
I AM A Chrysler Voyager owner (my second) and highly upset about (DaimlerChrysler Chairman) Jurgen Schrempp's manners.
Is there anything Chrysler customers can do? We have to raise our voices in order to remind this person that the 'wedding' was understood by everyone (except him obviously) as a union between two equal forces, not an absorption.
Jean Michel Canitrot
Canitrot & Co.
Common rail engine is nothing new
NINETY YEARS ago, 'common rail' diesel injection systems were being hailed as the latest technology. This may come as a surprise to some of your readers.
During the early years of the last century most diesel engines used air-assisted - or 'air blast' - fuel injection.
A major complication, and sometimes hazard, was the need for three-stage compressors to provide injection air at pressures up to 75 atmospheres.
One of the first 'airless' or 'solid' injection systems was invented in 1910 by the English engineering company, Vickers. In their system a single pipe, or fuel rail, supplied fuel at a constant pressure to all injectors. The timing and duration of injection were controlled at the injector.
Vickers named the new innovation the 'common rail system.'
Norman Wilson Engineering