Getting it all in perspective:
Carlos Ghosn detroit 2001
“I’m paranoid about it, but I’m paranoid about most things.” Ford CEO Jac Nasser, referring to increasing competition.
“A bad decision can destroy our reputation. That is why you strive for the highest standards and quality.” Fujio Cho, President, Toyota Motor Co.
“There are no bad cars out there anymore, just good, better and best.” Honda Motor Executive Vice President Tom Elliott.
“You need them. You don’t want to go broke with them.” GM Chairman Jack Smith on how small cars are a critical part of the lineup, but usually lose money.
On the automotive sales slump:
“The speed things deteriorated was faster than we expected.” Martin Inglis, director of Ford’s North American operations.
“The absolute drop is horrific, but what you’re left with is pretty good.” Inglis, noting that even after the huge fall-off in December sales, the market is operating at a pace that would make 2001 the third-best year in U.S. automotive history.
“All this talk of recession could be a self-fulfilling prophecy that could push us into a crisis.” Juergen Hubbert, the number-two executive at DaimlerChrysler AG.
“It’s not the volume that worries us about the car market. It’s the level of incentives.” Ghosn, referring to the possibility of a price war as sales slip.
“Fortunately, because we have a waiting list, we don’t see the ups and downs. We may have someone drop off, but someone else is already there to take their place.” Stewart Robinson, CEO, Ferrari/Maserati North America.
Pierre Gagnon detroit 2001
“I think you’ll see some large assembly plants closing down permanently.” Jay Ferron, partner in the consulting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers.
“The supplier base is out of gas and caught between the dog and a fire hydrant.” Consultant Ferron.
On automotive design:
“It seems the world's designers have all caught the same disease at the same time. It reminds me a little bit of modern art in the '50s and '60s when the art became so non-representational that you had to read two pages in the catalog to figure out what the artist was trying to tell you.” Former Chrysler President and now Exide CEO Robert Lutz.
“This is designed to look like a car, and if that’s out of style, I apologize.” Lutz, who is also a major shareholder in the new Cunningham Motor Co.
“This is an animal.” Chrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche, on the next-generation Viper sports car.
“Making a statement of individuality is a part of the Jeep mystique.” Tom Sidlik, general manager of Jeep.
“We’re bringing the wagon back. It had a low image in this country, but it’s…attractive, uses space well, and could be trend-setting.” DaimlerChrysler’s Juergen Hubbert, on the introduction of the C-Class wagon.
Dieter Zetsche detroit 2001
“I don’t think too many people (see) retro as the way to go for the future.” GM CEO Rick Wagoner.
“Of all the vehicles we’ve done, this is unabashedly retro,” Ford head of design J Mays, after the roll-out of the automaker’s Forty-Nine concept vehicle.