Comeback: The Fall and Rise of the American Automobile Industry

Comeback: The Fall and Rise of the American Automobile Industry

by Paul Ingrassia, Joseph B. White
     
 

In Comeback, Pulitzer Prize-winners Paul Ingrassia and Joseph B. White take us to the boardrooms, the executive offices, and the shop floors of the auto business to reconstruct, in riveting detail, how America's premier industry stumbled, fell, and picked itself up again. The story begins in 1982, when Honda started building cars in Marysville, Ohio, and the entire…  See more details below

Overview

In Comeback, Pulitzer Prize-winners Paul Ingrassia and Joseph B. White take us to the boardrooms, the executive offices, and the shop floors of the auto business to reconstruct, in riveting detail, how America's premier industry stumbled, fell, and picked itself up again. The story begins in 1982, when Honda started building cars in Marysville, Ohio, and the entire U.S. car industry seemed to be on the brink of extinction. It ends just over a decade later, with a remarkable turn of the tables, as Japan's car industry falters and America's Big Three emerge as formidable global competitors. Comeback is a story propelled by larger-than-life characters - Lee Iacocca, Henry Ford II, Don Petersen, Roger Smith, among many others - and their greed, pride, and sheer refusal to face facts. But it is also a story full of dedicated, unlikely heroes who struggled to make the Big Three change before it was too late.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
After posting record operating losses of $7.5 billion in 1991, Detroit's ``Big Three'' automakers seemed headed for disaster. But the last three years have brought a dramatic turnaround. How Ford, Chrysler and General Motors transformed themselves from tottering dinosaurs turning out defect-ridden cars in the 1980s into efficient producers of popular automobiles is the theme of this riveting, juicy, optimistic report. Ingrassia, Wall Street Journal senior editor in Detroit, and White, the Journal's deputy bureau chief in Michigan, offer a familiar story-American plants adapted Japanese methods and technology learned from Japanese-U.S. joint ventures. But the authors also provide a candid inside look at Big Three decision-making, power struggles, arrogance and near-diasters, telling how a new cadre of managers replaced a stultifying status quo, along with withering profiles of Lee Iacocca, Roger Smith, Donald Petersen, Bob Lutz and other top auto executives. Photos. First serial to Wall Street Journal; author tour. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Pulitzer Prize winners Ingrassia and White, both of the Wall Street Journal's Michigan bureau, have written the definitive recent history of the American automobile industry. In the last five years, Ford, GM, and Chrysler have all managed to rebound from the near-fatal mistakes they made in the 1980s. The authors go beyond the daily barrage of press releases and earnings reports to unearth a dramatic tale of clashing egos and boardroom intrigue. The result is a story at once engrossing and packed with valuable information. Although intended for general readers, this flawlessly researched book will also serve as an excellent resource for special collections. This work will nicely balance Maryann Keller's more internationally focused Collision (LJ 10/1/93). Highly recommended.-Alexander Wright, Harvard Univ. Lib, Cambridge, Mass.
David Rouse
By the mid-1980s, as U.S. consumers switched to more well designed, better-built, fuel-efficient Japanese cars, conventional wisdom had begun to sound the death knell for the U.S. auto industry, and industry analysts sat deathwatch for the so-called Big Three automakers. But within the past several years, headlines have proclaimed a remarkable turnaround as a resuscitated Detroit has driven a U.S. economic recovery. Today, Ford sells cars in Japan, and Chrysler is enjoying record profits. The authors, who cover the auto industry for the "Wall Street Journal" and won a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of upheaval at General Motors, tell how it all happened, starting with what turned out to be the first step toward regrowth--the retirement party of GM chief Roger B. Smith in July_ 1990. The authors suggest that there is a lesson to be learned here: that once U.S. auto executives stopped complaining about unfair trade practices and set about trying to improve their product and production techniques, they were able to compete more effectively. With plenty of colorful characters and dramatic events, "Comeback" is business journalism at its best.
From the Publisher
Jonathan Yardley The Washington Post Book World A case study of the price that human vanity exacts....The authors have told the story of Detroit's fall and rise comprehensively and lucidly, and have connected it to the larger story of an emerging global economy in which American industry "no longer could...be led solely by people whose world view was limited to the American midwest."

Business Week Comeback...wraps a dozen years of turmoil into a compelling saga....Ingrassia and White...spin a yarn that will entertain readers beyond the industry.

Alexander Wright Library Journal The definiteve recent history of the American automobile industry...at once engrossing and packed with valuable information...flawlessly researched...highly recommended.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780671792145
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
08/02/1994
Pages:
496
Product dimensions:
6.52(w) x 9.56(h) x 1.47(d)

Meet the Author

Paul Ingrassia, formerly the Detroit bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal and later the president of Dow Jones Newswire, is the deputy editor-in-chief of Reuters. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 (with Joseph B. White) for reporting on management crises at General Motors, he is the author of Crash Course: The American Automobile Industry’s Road from Glory to Disaster.

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