With an updated Afterword by the author.
This is the epic saga of the American automobile industry’s rise and demise, a compelling story of hubris, 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. With unprecedented access, Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Ingrassia takes us from factory floors to small-town dealerships to Detroit’s boardrooms to the White House. Ingrassia answers the big questions: Was Detroit’s self-destruction inevitable? What were the key turning points? Why did Japanese automakers manage American workers better than the American companies themselves did? Complete with a new Afterword providing fresh insights into the continuing upheaval in the auto industry—the travails of Toyota, the revolving-door management and IPO at General Motors, the unexpected progress at Chrysler, and the Obama administration’s stake in Detroit’s recovery—Crash Course addresses a critical question: America bailed out GM, but who will bail out America?
Pulitizer-prize winning journalist Ingrassia offers a timely look at the dramatic history of the auto industry in the wake of the meltdown of General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler-America's Big Three car companies. Ingrassia, former Detroit bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal, brings enviable first hand knowledge and perspective to this fast paced narrative, which spans more than a century of volatility-while Americans have conducted an on-going love affair with the car, our leading auto companies have been on the brink of collapse countless times. Beginning with Henry Ford's early years, onto Alfred P. Sloan's mass marketing genius and on to the formation of the UAW in 1935, the author chronicles how the Big Three came to dominate the marketplace. From the post-war boom years to the style driven, fin-laden muscle cars in the 50s and 60, Ingrassia traces the mushrooming mismanagement, hubris, safety issues, union struggles, and failure to innovate which threatened the industry. From the 1970s, with the entrance of foreign cars, to the rise of the SUV and numerous mergers of the 1990s, we are led through the industry's rollercoaster ride, lurching toward what seems, in retrospect, the inevitable crash. A fascinating, superbly crafted, and entertaining read.