No Sympathy for the Big Three

Reading the article "Big Three Put Pressure on Japan," Jan. 14, I find myself asking how United States automakers managed to distort US auto sales into a Japanese problem. Even as they cry about limited access to a Japanese market and attendant problems, the American market is 100 percent available - and they're losing it.

Japanese automakers have provided Detroit with essential research required to attract and hold US buyers. Is there a simpler clue than that 27 percent of American car owners drive Japanese cars? J.C. Tandy, Richmond, N.H.

You have to love the leaders of the auto industry and the different drummer to which they march. The cause of all their problems used to be government interference and pressure for more crash-worthy and fuel-efficient cars. Then they moved on to blame the consumer: Safety doesn't sell and they won't buy smaller cars. They advanced to blaming the lazy, featherbedding workers. Now it's "Japan bashing." Charles M. Breinin, Tonawanda, N.Y.

If Lee Iacocca wants to confront the problems of the American auto industry, he would do better to look in the mirror than to go to Tokyo.

If the Big Three can't hold onto their markets in the US, where they have all kinds of advantages, I don't see how any amount of "fair trade" can win them many new customers in Japan.

Mr. Iacocca and other captains of US industry are paid far more than their Japanese counterparts. High executive pay scales filter down to middle and lower management and fuel (as they should) union demands for more money, reducing a firm's competitiveness.

This huge pay difference between people at the top and the bottom works against the development of the kinds of employee attitudes that are so successful in Japan. Joe Walton, Berkeley, Calif. Loan to Israel should be conditional

Regarding the article "Loan Decision Muddies Peace Talks," Jan. 13: It is regrettable that our administration finds difficulty in standing firm on the condition for a loan guarantee to Israel: to freeze settlement activity in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Must consideration of pro-Israel influence in our country forever favor Israel without regard to justice? Paul H. Karr, Wilmette, Ill.

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