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In the 1990s, Detroit’s Big Three automobile companies were riding high. The introduction of the minivan and the SUV had revitalized the industry, and it was widely believed that Detroit had miraculously overcome the threat of foreign imports and regained its ascendant position. As Micheline Maynard makes brilliantly clear in THE END OF DETROIT, however, the traditional American car industry was, in fact, headed for disaster. Maynard argues that by focusing on high-profit trucks and SUVs, the Big Three missed a golden opportunity to win back the American car-buyer. Foreign companies like Toyota and Honda solidified their dominance in family and economy cars, gained market share in high-margin luxury cars, and, in an ironic twist, soon stormed in with their own sophisticatedly engineered and marketed SUVs, pickups and minivans. Detroit, suffering from a “good enough” syndrome and wedded to ineffective marketing gimmicks like rebates and zero-percent financing, failed to give consumers what they really wanted—reliability, the latest technology and good design at a reasonable cost. Drawing on a wide range of interviews with industry leaders, including Toyota’s Fujio Cho, Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn, Chrysler’s Dieter Zetsche, BMW’s Helmut Panke, and GM’s Robert Lutz, as well as car designers, engineers, test drivers and owners, Maynard presents a stark picture of the culture of arrogance and insularity that led American car manufacturers astray. Maynard predicts that, by the end of the decade, one of the American car makers will no longer exist in its present form.
|Ch. 1||How Detroit lost its grip||10|
|Ch. 2||A fallen comrade||34|
|Ch. 3||Two paths to the same conclusion||58|
|Ch. 4||Journey from the inside out||92|
|Ch. 5||Hot dogs, apple pie and Camry||115|
|Ch. 6||The challenger||144|
|Ch. 7||Nibbling from the bottom and the top||171|
|Ch. 8||Detroit south||199|
|Ch. 9||The end of Detroit||231|
|Ch. 10||What do customers really want?||271|
|Epilogue : the world in 2010||295|
|A five-point manifesto for fixing Detroit's problems||314|
Posted March 17, 2009
Author Micheline Maynard portrays how import automobile companies have labored mercilessly over the years to become competitive with the American big three car makers. The majority of the book reads as if it is a collection of magazine articles opposed to a novel. Although, brief exerts about candid moments in foriegn automotive history provides an intimate feeling as it shows their passion for the industry. Maynard seems to fall short at showing a detailed summary of the American big three and often leans heavily on the their competitions triumphs. The style of writing often becomes monotonous and leads to many lackluster chapters. The entire book would be compariable to a series of Buisness Week stories on the subject. Although at times dull "The End Of Detroit" splendidly summates how imports have risen from obscurity to become major players in the auto industry.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 2, 2005
Although Maynard's research effort seemed substantial, the whole book read like one long, drawn-out editorial. The 'facts' were mostly opinions, selected only to support her views that everything GM/Ford/Chrysler was wrong and everything Toyota/Honda/Kia/Hyundai was right. Even quotes from American OEM executives were placed in context that deliberately portrayed them as misguided or out-of-touch (especially Bob Lutz). And, although there was some mention of socio-political factors contributing to non-American success in America, I was looking for more fact and commentary about our government's inaction to level the playing field for American manufacturers (health care, free trade agreements and enforcement, and retirement funding). I do acknowledge, however, that GM, Ford, and Chrysler are at fault themselves for their union contracts that work as a huge disadvantage on health care and pension costs. In short, I had a great interest in reading this book, especially considering the recent struggles of Delphi and how they affect GM, but was ultimately disappointed by the lack of fact-based analysis.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 3, 2005
Micheline Maynard overlooks a few things. Before 1970 the big 3 dominated, the book wrongly equates the existence of foreign rivals with automatic failure of Detroit in the present. Maynard also doesn't emphasize the fact that GM and Ford own several European, Japanese brands.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.