GM Chairman Urges End to War of Words

THE JOURNAL RECORD, February 8, 1992 | Go to article overview

GM Chairman Urges End to War of Words


CHICAGO (AP) _ The chairman of General Motors Corp. urged an end Friday to the bitter U.S.-Japanese war of words, saying the proper battlefield is the marketplace.

"Name-calling doesn't get anybody anything. The key thing is to let the products do the talking," GM chief Robert C. Stempel told reporters covering the Chicago Auto Show.

Stempel also said he expects a proposed U.S.-Japanese automaker summit meeting to be held despite signs of fading interest among Japanese car manufacturers.

Earlier Thursday, a Toyota executive said it was "unfortunate" that criticism of U.S. workers and management by Japanese politicians had been perceived by Americans as Japan's official position.

But George E. Borst, vice president of strategic and product planning for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., also said the resulting surge in "buy American" sentiment was meaningless rhetoric because some Japanese cars built in this country have more U.S.-made parts than their domestic competition.

"This `buy American' thing is an attempt to do something that no longer works," Borst said at a news conference to introduce his company's American-made Camry station wagon. "It's a well-meaning attempt but it's not for the 1990s market."

Stempel acknowledged that most American car-buyers shop for the best value regardless of brand. He added, though, that U.S.-owned auto plants buy about 97 percent of their parts from U.S. suppliers versus less than 50 percent for foreign-owned auto plants in the United States. …

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