Drew Danko's Reviews > Crash Course: The American Automobile Industry's Road from Glory to Disaster

Crash Course by Paul Ingrassia
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's review
Dec 14, 2010

really liked it

This is a very good read if you enjoy cars and automotive history. Or if you are like me,reading it to reach an understanding of how a giant like GM,who also supplies my pension, could fall into bankruptcy. It is a tragic tale that is worth reading.
The author provides an easy read on a subject that could be very dry and boring. There are many interesting facts you pick up along the way. For example, did you know that Ford was offered the Volkswagen company after WWll for free but turned it down. You got to wonder what if......?
Although I readily agreed with the author's assessment of who and what was to blame for GM's downfall, I wish he would have taken another step and analyzed what might have been if the failures he identified had been changed. Yes, GM should have taken a stand against several UAW demands ,like the Jobs Bank, but they didn't. But why did they not do it? The author argued GM just took the path of least resistance,would pass the costs on to consumers, and just lacked the courage. These explanations are probably true, but what might have been the outcomes if GM had taken a stand? To speculate is risky, but with the author's access to GM personnel, records, and being an astute observer of the auto industry I think he could have done a credible job. The UAW would have gone out on strke with serious economic results, but would the results have been any more serious than they turned out to be? Tracking that arguement into the future would have been a fascinating addition to the book even if risky.
I also wondered if the board of directors really did their job. Yes, they took decisive action in removing R.Stempel, but was that enough throughout the totality of GM's decline. GM management may not have been the only ones lacking vision,courage and perspective.

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