OESA Open Letter from the President: Japan Crisis

A Japanese Father prepares to flee with his 4 month-old daughter on hearing new Tsunami warnings
Image: Yahoo! News

Publisher’s note: Being in receipt of this communication from long time colleague Neil De Koker, we thought we might present his letter in its entirety, which represents OESA’s concerns and activities relative to the Japan disaster.

eMOTION! REPORTS.com shares these concerns and urge our automotive and aerospace industry associates to look for new and innovative ways to assist an innovative and historically resolute, self sufficient, culture to return to that state as expeditiously as possible.

Lastly, and in conjunction with OESA’s laudable initiatives,we highly recommend support of the World Food Programme’s (http://www.wfp.org/) Japan disaster relief efforts.

Carpe diem,
Myron D. Stokes, Publisher


March 18, 2011

OESA Open Letter from the President: Japan Crisis

Dear Myron,

One week after the horrific earthquake and tsunami in Japan, many find themselves with more questions than answers regarding the scope of the calamity, and the extent of the human toll. I have been deeply affected by the turn of events in Japan, having many friends and colleagues who are experiencing the crisis first hand. It is indeed a very grim reality that has touched many in the supplier community, both personally and professionally. We have a number of Japanese member companies within the OESA family, and stand ready to assist in whatever way we can.

I want to take this opportunity to direct members to the OESA website for information from our affiliate members on the impact of the disaster on light vehicle production and supply chain disruption. We will keep this updated on an ongoing basis. Notable is the IHS update on light vehicle production, and their information on OEM production losses. Visit http://www.oesa.org and review the Japan Earthquake Resource Center on the home page.

We have had requests from members to survey suppliers on the impact to the supply chain and production schedules, so we are rolling out a short survey to take the pulse of the member base on these issues. All OESA company member representatives will receive a request for participation in a separate e-mail. Survey results will be tabulated and shared with respondents. The results will also assist OESA staff in deploying association resources to address issues that are most important.

Lastly, there have been many efforts launched to raise funds for disaster relief. The Japanese Red Cross Society suggests that donations be made to your local Red Cross. CLICK HERE to join OESA in supporting the American Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Fund.

In closing, we are focusing association efforts on disseminating information, addressing member needs and concerns, and working with member companies to provide services, connections and resources to help us all weather this crisis.

As always, I welcome your comments and thoughts on this or any other subject.

Neil De Koker
President and CEO
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eMOTION! REPORTS AUTOMOTIVE ARCHIVES: CHRYSLER – “Der Sturm” (The Perfect Storm) and Bob Eaton; Chrysler Group, LLC/FIAT and 2011 Rebirth of Charger R/T

Daimler Chairman Juergen Schrempp (l.) and Chrysler Chairman Robert J. Eaton Signing Documents in 1998 That Created DaimlerChrysler

Detroit – 2001 Imagine what Bob Eaton’s true reasons could have been for seeking a merger between Chrysler Corp. and Germany’s Daimler-Benz. Despite his eight years as head of General Motors in Europe, he had jumped ship to become Chrysler’s chairman half-a-decade earlier which cut him off from any return to GM. If that wasn’t enough, he already was entering his late 50s, so any move he needed to make to ensure his immortality in automotive history had to be made soon.

Now, upon surreptitiously meeting with Daimler-Benz chairman Juergen Schrempp in early 1998, there was a chance to put his imprint on what easily could become the biggest, most influential auto maker that ever existed.

It had to be a heady time for a man who, in a surge of supreme self-confidence, saw himself ultimately as the lone leader of the world’s largest car company.

Storm Clouds in the Distance

That was three years ago, when the industry was floating in an excess of success with no apparent end in sight. But there were nagging little signs of trouble that were beginning to appear for anyone who bothered to look.

And Bob Eaton was looking.

What he saw in the distance were the makings of a maelstrom of unsurpassed proportions, the beginning of a confluence of seemingly unrelated events that, when they collided, would become so magnified they could only be called a perfect storm.

Eaton had used that very expression in an internal company speech he gave early in 1998, before any word of the impending merger had surfaced. Surely such an alliance would protect both partners from the storm that was sure to come.

That was what Bob Eaton had in his distant vision when he sat down with pen in hand and essentially gave away America’s third largest auto company.

Next… http://www.emotionreports.com/industry_analysis/der_sturm.html

A wonderfully articulated homage to the "Muscle Car" era: 2011 Dodge Charger R/T AWD

Publisher’s note: One wonders aloud why it took an Italian acquisition to allow this country to see what most of the world already knew: The historical center of the automotive universe is America and more specifically, Detroit.

Legions of PR, marketing and advertising people have come and gone over the last 37 years, and save for a creative and innovative few, have failed to tap into the rich performance and styling history that exemplified Chrysler Corp… Dodge Division in particular.

The vehicle most responsible for setting me on a professional path within the auto industry was an Autumn/copper 440 C.I. Magnum-powered 1968 Charger R/T that came over a rise of an intersection at 67th and State Street on the south side of Chicago one early November 1967 morning. I heard it before I saw it, and once visible, was glorious to behold. Being an avid aviation enthusiast from age 6 focused on high performance military aircraft past and present inclusive of P-51 Mustang, P-38 Lightning, F-86 Sabre, F-104 Starfighter and F-4 Phantom, I couldn’t believe how stunningly beautiful that Charger was.

This then 16 year-old whooped and danced in the street as the Charger glided by exuding sensuous design elegance and raw, perceptively inexhaustible, power. A perception put paid when unforgettable images from the classic action movie “Bullitt” of an assassin’s 1968 Charger pursued by McQueen’s 390 (legend says it was a Ford NASCAR 427) Mustang through the streets of San Francisco graced the silver screen.

The closest I came to acquiring my dream machine was a 1973 Charger SE with Police Recruiter 400 C.I.D. engine “sleeper” modified with enclosed exhaust headers, 750 CFM Holley 4bbl Carb, a 3500 rpm stall-speed torque converter and 3:90 Posi-traction rear axle. Family friend Jeanne Smith in Detroit got closer: To this day she owns the same ’68 Charger 440 Magnum she was driving when we first met in September 1969.

I’ve not driven the 2011 Charger R/T AWD that oozes homage to the ’68,’69 and ’70 models as yet, but if you happen to spy some guy whooping and dancing on some big city street, it will probably be yours truly… having concluded that the Dodge Boys, with no little help from the car buffs of Rome, did it right.

Auto enthusiasts everywhere, and most certainly the City of Detroit, owe FIAT leadership a debt of gratitude for the fabulous image boost emergent amidst decades of societal derision. Moreover, my family is especially proud of the “Imported From Detroit” Super Bowl commercial featuring the pounding fist statue of master pugilista Joe Louis “The Brown Bomber” Barrow: The Stokes’ and Barrows of Camp Hill, Alabama, married into each other’s families decades ago…

-Myron D. Stokes

Poster for chase sequence classic "Bullitt" featuring Steve Mcqueen and Robert Vaughn

Images: 1. DaimlerChrysler 2. Chrysler Group, LLC 3. Warner Bros.