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Beijing Jeep: The Short, Unhappy Romance of American Business in China Paperback – October, 1990

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 1979, American Motors began a joint venture with Beijing Auto Works to manufacture jeeps in China, soon discovering that West and East had different, irreconcilable goals. PW called this an "informative, well-researched account."
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Los Angeles Times reporter Mann finished this book after the June 1989 student revolts, and his tone reflects the more sober, less eager approach Americans are taking toward China and business in China these days. Here, Mann has skillfully woven together the story of the venture to produce the American Motor Company (AMC) Jeep in China, a project greeted with enthusiasm but one that, as Mann shows, turned out to be plagued by difficulties, mostly because of culture clash. Mann provides more details about Sino-American business than in Graeme Browning's If Everyone Bought One Shoe: American Capitalism in Communist China ( LJ 6/1/89). Readers who are willing to accept some painful self-examination about the way Americans have been doing business in China will find this a fascinating book.
-David D. Buck, Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 366 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone Books; New edition edition (October 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671725041
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671725044
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,221,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Phil Lee on May 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Fifteen years ago, this book chronicled the successes, foibles, and missteps on the first US auto manufacturers to startup in modern China. This during the time when Premier Deng was just starting to modernize China's industry in the early 80s after Mao's death. Written by Jim Mann, this was his first book as a LA Times bureau chief stationed in Beijing for 3 years. He finishes the book just after Tiananmen incident in 1989, when the new acquirer Chrysler buys AMC from Renault and shuts the Chinese JV down.
The book does an excellent job at depicting the cat and mouse game where the Americans were trying for easy money just being assembler of parts kits from Detroit. The Chinese wanted newer technology models, to upgrade the Soviet installed manufacturing of legacy Jeeps that was sold during the 50s. They also wanted design capability and technology transfer assistance to build their own manufacturing infrastructure. The unspoken terms that China's leaders wanted: to be able to design and manufacture the Jeep themselves. Not content to merely be an assembler, they had self-reliance goals to provide the PLArmy's with a new four door, soft-top Jeep, now and for years to come. This takes a huge amount of resources and money, which both China and AMC did not have. China didn't have lots of hard currency and AMC was simply undercapitalized and did not have a parent with deep pockets.
Mann's story has 25 chapters and 6 pages of notes, most references are from American and Chinese newspapers. His tale of woe is interesting, fast paced, and reads like a novel. Of course most of the dialog is from AMC's point of view, but he attempts to decipher the Chinese point of view too. But like most things PRChinese, it was day late and a dollar short. His book also includes a useable 13-page index.
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