For many years I have enjoyed reading your authoritative and interesting publication whilst admiring your and your staff’s independent position.
It has always amused me how correspondents have praised the foreign products whilst slating the home-produced motor car. The general concensus is that the Germans and Japanese produce nothing but quality at competitive prices. This is a naive attitude; ask many Germans what they think of their clapped-out two-year-old BMWs; ask the Japanese motorist about his underpowered Subaru or Honda.
I do not deny that Germans and Japanese do produce excellent cars but so do we. The difference twixt us and them is that they do not shout from the treetops about their cars’ malfunctions and shortcomings but praise them up as much as possible.
This extends beyond their cars; meet Japanese or Germans on their home ground and they proudly tell you of their strides in economics and other fields. The average Englishman, and it would unfortunately appear the average reader of Motor Sport is ashamed of his country and its products.
Sir, now is not the time to disparage this our great country, nor its products, but to back it to the hilt. I can assure you that even in Japan today British products, including cars, are highly admired and sought after. Walk the Ginza in early evening; what does one see in the shops—British goods and outside the geisha houses shiny black Daimlers and Jaguars. Visit New Zealand— they prefer to buy British cars rather than Australian.
The Japanese have a price advantage in many markets but this is not an indication of production efficiencies but of trading and corporate policy. I doubt if Toyota sell cars to us to make money, more likely to enable them to expand their plants in Tayo City and build in Taiwan and Korea. Japanese industry does not exist to make a profit but to expand. Thus the selling price can be unrealistically low.
As for your correspondents’ concern over the price of Jaguars in Germany; Leyland exist (I presume) to make money and not provide the Germans with cheap cars. As they cannot meet the full market demand, wisely they inflate the price to a point where the demand then equals the supply position and make a good profit. Just sound marketing policy and not stupidity.
Sir, let us start to praise the good things about England and telephone or telex Lord Stokes about our had TR6s rather than shout from the tree-tops.
If your correspondents cannot get their TR65 repaired and put in good order I suggest they learn how to complain—how many have attempted a personal letter or telephone call to the Managing Director of Triumph.
Bury St, Edmunds R. J. Marshall
[Most of the complainants, including our Assistant Editor, were so concerned that they had written to Lord Stokes, among others. ED.]
Miscellany, August 1998
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