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Arrogance and Accords: The Inside Story of the Honda Scandal Hardcover – November 19, 1997
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For all of the things right about Honda in the 1970s and 80s, there was something terribly wrong inside the house of Honda. Evidence suggests that high-ranking U.S. executives were shaking down their own dealers for cash or, in some cases, were forcing dealers to make the executives literal partners in their franchises. In return, dealers were allotted more cars - there were never enough to go around - or better yet, additional dealerships. Former Honda marketing executive Steve Lynch covers it all, from a unique insider's perspective, in Arrogance and Accords: The Inside Story of the Honda Scandal. Commendably, Lynch handles the story with balance, never tearing into personalities for their transgressions, but simply reporting the story.
Arrogance and Accords is often fascinating, always compelling. It should be required reading in business-ethics courses. Maybe some of Honda's former executives could teach the classes as part of their work-release program. -- Ed Wallace - Car and Driver magazine, February 1998
Steve Lynch, a former Honda marketing exec and author of Arrogance and Accords: The Inside Story of the Honda Scandal, describes a scene in this book in such extraordinary detail that it stays with the reader throughout the 300-plus pages that chronicles the largest commercial corruption case in U.S.
Lynch tells the sordid tale with a perspective and authority that only he can provide - the Santa Paula dealership, for example. Lynch was there, and he confesses that "he was no choir boy." -- Michele Krebs - Autoweek magazine, February 16, 1998
About the Author
Steve Lynch grew up in the shadow of the Studebaker automobile factory in South Bend, Indiana, and attended Indiana University. Lynch spent 13 years in the world of Honda, rising from a Honda dealership showroom floor to the executive offices of American Honda Motor Company, where he was in charge of regional marketing. Lynch also worked for Honda's advertising agency. He lives in Dallas, Texas.
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Top Customer Reviews
It seems truly amazing that $50 million dollars in bribes were treated as a cost of sales and just passed on to the retail customers who willingly paid up to $2000 over List Price.
Those Honda and Acura factory executives who concocted these schemes should have been put in prison and the keys thrown away.
Steve Lynch writes an Eye-Opening expose of what, who and even how these larcenous Honda factory employees of robbed both dealers and the buying public. What amazes me is how the IRS didn't get wind of this.
These 26 Honda & Acura executives who's convictions and guilty pleas to acceptence of $50 million dollars in cash and gifts over a 10 year period, should have triggered some mechanism with the IRS.
Every person in the car sales business, whether the Wholesale side of the Retail MUST read this book. It is manual as to either How to steal from dealers and the public or a manual as to what to watch out for from crooked factory people who are going to try to involve one in a larcenous scheme.
Arrogance and Accords should become required reading at the worlds business schools. I suspect however the teaching faculty would never beleive it. Well, it is said that truth is often stranger then fiction.
Arrogance & Accords is a must read! An absolute must!
Lynch's love of Honda shows in his opening account of the dismal state of the American automobile scene circa 1981. There is a certain glee with which Lynch contrasts the high quality of Honda's product with the lesser quality of American marques. Such contrasts in quality proved important, as Honda was able to sell cars without extensive marketing campaigns.
But as Honda became more successful, bribery and graft within the American division grew higher and more audacious. The prince of payola at American Honda was John "Jack" Billmyer, who "wallowed in the kickbacks of dealers" throughout the country. Following in Billmyer's footsteps was his successor as chief of national sales, Stanley James Cardiges, nicknamed Jim Car-Jesus, The God of Honda automobiles.
One of the biggest dealer-influence-peddlers who played ball with Billmyer and Cardiges was NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick. Hendrick and Billmyer went back to Rick's youth as a hot rodder in North Carolina, and Billmyer was instrumental in getting Hendrick going in car sales. Lynch shows how Hendrick wielded undue influence with the company and was thus able to acquire far more car stores than anyone else. "All it took," writes Lynch, "were a few gifts."
Lynch notes that most car companies limit dealers to about six stores, but Hendrick didn't believe such a rule should apply to him, and in Honda he found a company that officially did not have such a rule.
Lynch details how Hendrick used bribes and influence in Honda to bankrupt rival dealers - such as William Van Dalsam of California and Dick Young of South Carolina - and then poach their stores. A story not mentioned in the book adds to the scenario - reportedly, former NASCAR driver Dick Brooks was approached by Hendrick, who wanted to purchase his three dealerships. Brooks refused, and next thing he knew, cars slated for his shops were going to Hendrick's facilities.
Lynch carries the story through the trial and convictions of over 22 defendents, including Hendrick. There is a hint of disappointment in Lynch as he notes that, with Hendrick's guilty plea to one count of mail fraud (pertaining to one of the largest bribes to Cardiges), the probe of the Honda scandal seemed to close.
Lynch also notes a lesser-reported angle of the story - how Hendrick reportedly also bribed Lexus. Given this record, one has to wonder if Hendrick has used such tactics with General Motors as well, given the near-monopolistic clout and engineering backing from GM his NASCAR race teams wield.
Not just NASCAR fans, but anyone interested in cars should read this book.
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BOOK REVIEW: ARROGANCE & ACCORDS - THE INSIDE STORY OF THE HONDA SCANDAL by Steve Lynch
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