The statement that most Japanese cars at the beginning of the 1970s had front-wheel drive is incorrect; almost all Toyota and Datsun Nissan cars were rear-wheel drive into the first half of the 1980s. That calamity, if it happened, would throw his thirty employees out of work and wipe out everything he had worked for in the last quarter-century. Ingrassia has long covered the auto industry for the Wall Street Journal, so this book has a lot of depth and back ground for one that was published so soon after the events it describes. If anyone is well placed to chronicle the collapse of the American automobile industry it is industry veteran Paul Ingrassia. The following year, Ingrassia and White wrote Comeback: The Fall and Rise of the American Automobile Industry.
Uncertainty was hanging heavily in many places across America that were far from Detroit. The book is written by a journalist, and this definitely shows. And they sometimes did it with gusto. This is a well thought out and well developed book. It's hard to believe that executives at the big three car companies focused on anything but quality and profitability, but they did.
He clearly is a highly skilled and well connected reporter, but combines that with the ability to put a complicated story together in a way readers can easily follow. The private jets they took to the congressional hearing were only one indication of a general problem. Benner was the quintessential small-town car dealer. Ingrassia gets into the 11th hour The American car companies have always sucked, bad product, bad distribution, bad marketing, bad negotiating etc etc etc. These two models were actually different trim levels of the same automobile; Saturn did not launch a larger, companion model until the L-series appeared in the 2000 model year.
If I can nitpick, the accounts read more like a textbook at times, and I found myself wanting Ingrassia to flesh out the tension even more. Mercury, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Hummer, Saturn and a few other brands were finally killed but only after bankruptcy was declared. It said: detroit: where the weak are killed and eaten. Full Synopsis This is the epic saga of the American automobile industry's rise and demise, a compelling story of hubris, denial, missed opportunities, and self-inflicted wounds that culminates with the president of the United States ushering two of Detroit's Big Three car companies—once proud symbols of prosperity—through bankruptcy. Referring to Detroit's rough reputation, the saying ironically turns back on city's industrial giants. .
Ingrassia does a nice job of explaining more complicated matters of accounting, financing, and union negotiations. While the union workers benefitted greatly from these victories, there is little doubt that the auto companies not to mention car buyers would have been much better off without them. Short Synopsis In the tradition of James Stewart's Disney War and Michael Lewis's Liar's Poker comes journalist Paul Ingrassia with the inside track on the meltdown of the American automobile industry. There he owned Bessey Motor Sales, the Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge dealership that served the town of 2,200 people, some ninety minutes northwest of Portland. My feelings about this book are complicated. Enjoyed reading about the Job Bank, where an idle worker would be paid 95% of his wages for not working. Detroit's auto industry was built on a corporate oligopoly and a union monopoly — a combination that had produced decades of astounding success but also sowed the seeds of failure.
But I did find it very interesting, informative and able to command my interest. The project failed but shouldn't have. This situation was barely tolerable when the price of gasoline was low, but led to catastrophic failure when the price rose finally. Numerous attempts to work around the union failed. This went on for years. The hubris so thick that for nearly 50 years the American car companies brushed off the invasion of Japanese quality and cost.
While the union workers benefitted greatly from these victories, there is little doubt that the auto companies not to mention car buyers would have been much better off without them. That is, there isn't much analysis of why exactly the decisions that were taken e. During that time the union won contracts that allowed many workers to collect pensions and enjoy free healthcare for more years in retirement than they actually would spend on the job. What info did they use? For those who were unclear about the details about the auto industry's bailout, this book gives much insight into the events leading to Detroit's downfall. The book neglect the role of customers from 1970s' to 1990 when domestic industry was sliding. Decades later, Ford would pay back with interest with the Mustang and Fusion. Employing superb storytelling skills, Ingrassia explains in head-shaking detail the elements of a wholly avoidable collision.
The hubris so thick that for nearly 50 years the American car companies brushed off the invasion of Japanese quality and cost. The result, again, was a period in which G. Mostly small details that gets annoying after a while. It details just how the American and foreign car companies came to be, how they failed, and which ones may ultimately survive. An internal report concluding that the company still had too many brands, factories and people was ignored. Only Paul Ingrassia can explain.
Despite these developments, an often violent labor movement demanded more and more wage increases and financial security for life. The growth years, the Corvair, the muscle cars, the foreign invasion, the gas crisis, Pinto and Vega, strikes, revivals, the Saturn experiemt, etc. Chapter 11 rather than 7 bankruptcy was used, meaning reorganization, which saved a lot of jobs. This is just part of a mindless status pissing contest that certainly hurt the company in labor negotiations especially after egalitarian Honda executives began wearing workers' jumpsuits and working off the factory floor itself. Regardless, the book's shrill tone leaves me knowing their is a lot more to this story than Ingrassia had the talent to communicate.
Crash Course does an amazing job of showing how the classic Big 3 became hidebound by managerial incompetence, union greed and short term thinking and in doing so, sowed the seeds of their own destruction. It was very hard to put it down at night. We'd love a follow-up, but what is the next big milestone of the automotive industry? Thousands of such incidents, all across America, would inspire Hollywood a few years later to make a movie called American Graffiti. In the 1970s, in a story not well covered in the book, Ford was taken over by the financial people. I also wondered if the board of directors really did their job. Not till it hit us right between the eyes.