The American Lorry Invasion (No. V).
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By "Ceteris Paribus."
Another or ich from aleadingBritish sales expert—one who has experience that is world-wide and who knows his America well. He has little opinion of the American's claim for his own intensiveness. "They are always busy telling you how busy" they are," he writes of our friends across the pond.
"Some truck, this." These were the words which greeted my ears a few years ago at the Madison Square Exhibition, where I stood at the stand of a concon then described as a leading " truck " manufacturer, but which has since passed into oblivion. It was " some truck," but not in the American sense. Curiosity led me to address a few questions to a cheerful looking salesman. He knew he had "some truck" to sell, but this was as far as his qualifiestions for his job went-. He had rather weird ideas regarding the respective merits of chain versus bevel drive ; double reduction was a closed chapter to him,and of worms he had only heard in the anatomical connection. But I liked that salesman. I don't know what there was about him that appealed to me; whether it was his cheerfulness under trying conditions, or the inventive genius with which he discovered unheard and undreamt of mechanical. principles, and staggering mileage records and mamten. ance figures ; anyhow, he appealed to me. I made a friend of that man. I was there to learn, and he thought he could " show " me; then I "called his bluff," and he asked me for a. job.
Now, as regards the " American Invasion." It was with profound interest that I have read the contributions which you have published under this heading. Experience on both sides of the Atlantic may justify my request to be permitted to add my dole to what has already been said on the subject.
About Intensive Production.
Let me explain. I was apprenticed in the "States," and know them from Portland, Maine, to "Frisco," and Portland, Oregon, to Florida. 1 have been connected with the heavy vehicle industry of this country for over six years, and have during that period been nine times across the herring pond, giving myself each time a two to three months intellectual treat in having the mysteries of American intensiveness revealed to me. I had heard of intensive farming, so why not have intensive truck production. I wanted to learn—and did.
Boosting is a Sales Requirement.
The production of "truck " is certainly phenomenally intensive in America. I found all the people I met always most busy telling you how busy they are. A great deal of time is required for "boosting," everything and everybody you are connected with, the country you live in, its weather, soil, birds, fish and flesh, the " truck." it produces, the methods by which it is produced and the way it is sold—by "putting one over -someone."
Americans No More Intensive than We Are.
But to business. What " Yankeeschism " has said —goes, every time. American business methods are no more intensive than they are in this country. The average American will point with pride to the fact that there are larger works in his country than here, but he shuts his eyes to the consideration that his enormous domestic market calls for them, and that a benevolent Governmentkeeps competition out by taxing foreign products to the tune of 30 per cent. and more.
I would very strongly recommend to the contributor of article No. IV that he spend a few years in this
country, and then compare American with British methods. The former he may be acquainted with, but certainly not with those of this country, as his remarks show.
The Effect of Protection.
It would presume too far on your space to answer this contributor's article in detail: One queStion will, I think, settle most of it. Could American manufacturers sell at a profit in this country it we levied an import duty on trucks of 30 per cent.? I think not. Therefore, pride Of place, irrespeCtiVe. of 'intensiveness of methods,, belongs to this Cohn*: One wellknown British firm has 106 chassis in Service in the United States, a good Mai), -of which were -imported When the duty was 4t per cent. _ -As to ." service," theirs is unexampled, as is freely admitted by moat
American manufacturers. .
There are certainly some good.chassis made in the United States. !` Yankeeschism" did not deny that. I have one in mind, designed by an Englishman, well known in this country, which is as good as any other, in existence. But the majority of American trucks are not up to our standard.
On the point of American discounts, your contiibutor No. IV is in error. I have before roe a list a quotations of last October to a New York firm from 54 American factories, which claim aggregate outputs of 4016 chassis per month. Three are subject to 331 discount, six to 30, 30 to 25, and 15 to 20 per cent.
British Vehicles Designed for Bad Conditions.
A great error most Americans who pay a visit to this country fall into is that of imagining that British chassis are designed for British road conditions. They should be disillusioned. It is the aim of every designer in this country to meet the worst possible conditions a chassis can be subjected to. Hence our success in the Colonies.
Americans Heavier than British.
The statement of Mr. Chas. It. Clark that American chassis are much lighter is erroneous. There may be a few exceptions, but most of them are much heavier than British chassis of the same capacity. Chassis for big loads are, I take it, the subject of this controversy. The Federal Motor Truck Co. do not make one of larger capacity than 4000 lb., I believe.
One more question with your permission. How is it that the largest omnibus company of the United States imports all its chassis? Perhaps Mr. G. A. Green, the engineer of the company in question, will elucidate this point.