Where the weak are killed and eaten -- Dynasty and destiny -- Glory days of ponies and goats -- Crummy cars and CAFE Society -- Honda comes to the cornfields -- Repentance, rebirth and relapse -- "Car Jesus" and the rise of the SUV -- Potholes and missed opportunities -- From riches to rags -- The hurricane that hit Detroit -- Chapter 11? -- As the precipice approaches -- Bailouts, bankruptcies, and beyond -- Another chance.
This is the saga of the American automobile industry's rise and demise, a 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. Pulitzer winner Paul 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? He also describes dysfunctional corporate cultures and Detroit's perverse system of "inverse layoffs." Along the way we meet Detroit's frustrated reformers and witness the wrenching decisions that Ford executives had to make to avoid GM's fate. Informed by Ingrassia's 25 years of covering the auto industry for The Wall Street Journal, and showing an appreciation for Detroit's profound influence on our country's society and culture, this is a uniquely American and deeply instructive story.--From publisher description.