We’ve got mail

Marketplace Staff Jun 28, 2006

TESS VIGELAND: Time once again for your letters. This edition we bring you cars and commentators. First, let’s go with commentary.

Two weeks ago, we gave bookstore clerk Moira Manion two minutes to just let it all out. And let it out she did. Moira blasted parents who let their kids run wild in her store. She appealed for a little discipline. To tell you the truth, we weren’t sure it would connect with people and we thought about not running it.

But Moira got more responses than any commentary in a good, long while. Like this one, from Elizabeth Pendelton in Hollywood, Calif.:

ELIZABETH PENDLETON: I’m with Moira. Show me a retailer truly willing to snap the necks of the parents of the unruly vermin — or at least one willing to ask these inconsiderate souls to leave the store while their kids are out of control — and I’ll show you a loyal customer. In the meantime, I shop online.

On to cars. Last week, Kai talked to Dan Neil while the L.A. Times auto critic was in France, watching the famous Le Mans auto race. An Audi won the race, but the diesel engine under the hood was an even bigger winner.

Aaron Kennison from Dayton, Ohio, says we’ll all win if Audi starts to mass-produce that same sorta engine.

AARON KENNISON: All I can say is: I can’t wait. I’ve even written to Audi imploring them to bring their diesels to the US. As for those hybrids, go check under the hood of any freight train. You’ll find a diesel engine turning an electric generator — that’s a hybrid combination I’d buy, after enjoying my diesel Audi. By the way, if Audi’s listening, I’d happily be a test driver for them.

Hey, get in line, Aaron.

And really, that’s the trouble for Detroit. Americans are more interested in foreign cars than domestic brands. In his recent commentary, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich said the carmakers have only themselves to blame for that predicament.

Reich said consumers won’t pay high car prices anymore, or at least they won’t do it just because the car was made in the US of A. Jeff Ritchey of San Jose, Calif., heard the commentary. He says most of the time he’s on Mr. Reich’s side.

JEFF RITCHEY: But this time he made some points that I just can’t agree with. He said consumers are unwilling to pay the high prices associated with the lifestyle and costs associated with the UAW. And this is just false. I’m 37 and I remember hearing President Carter say that the US is addicted to oil. It’s shameful that the executives of the Big Three haven’t taken much of the billions of dollars that have flowed through their companies and invested it in research and development for alternative fuels so that when these technologies are needed they are market leaders and not market followers.

Kinda like they’re following those Audi diesel engines, huh?

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