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The End of Detroit: How the Big Three Lost Their Grip on the American Car Market Paperback – September 21, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Not too long ago, Detroit-made vehicles manufactured in the U.S. were the most popular and bestselling cars. That is no longer the case, and Maynard, a reporter for the New York Times, explains how the automobile industry is now led by such companies as Toyota and Honda. She explains the various reasons for the diminished power of domestic car makers including the introduction of new, more appealing models and light trucks. Maynard writes, "With the exception of Toyota and its expansive lineup, none of the import companies has designs on meeting Detroit head-on in every segment where it competes.... They can be successful by fixing their targets and taking away markets, one by one." She cites BMW and Hyundai as two companies who know their markets very well and have solid brand images. Based on Maynard's interviews with executives and employees of many car companies, foreign and domestic, she shows how the foreign companies were repeatedly more innovative and strategic in their efforts to win over American consumers. Toyota, for example, built car plants in the U.S. and trained local employees, including Spanish-speaking workers, who would later be able to work in Toyota plants in Mexico, South America and elsewhere. The reporting is solid, but the writing is occasionally dull. Still, this is an intriguing if somewhat gloomy view of the American car business.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Acclaim for The End of Detroit
“[A] well-researched and passionate examination of contemporary culture, automotive and otherwise.”
“Comprehensive . . . Maynard builds a persuasive case with layers of detail.”
“Maynard’s crisply written book coolly analyzes the causes of the latest fall of Detroit.”
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Top customer reviews
For example. Maynard rambles on & on about the wonderful Toyota Production System (early in the book, then continues throughout), but doesn't credit it to Deming until she 'sort of' does with a mention on page 264.
Maynard also talks about the Corolla made at NUMMI, but does not even mention the Chevy model produced at the same plant- or the disparity of consumer ratings of effectively the same car. (Check out Bob Lutz' "Car Guys..." book for that; you may be surprised about how consumers' expectations prejudice quality ratings)
Maynard slices & dices the UAW (pages 222-224, etc.), then doubles back on that (somewhat) on page 299.
Nonetheless, this book was fun to read, and the predictions/scenarios on page 230 are pretty doggone good. It was also fun to read the negative reviews from folks who read the book before 2008 & on!
Another knitpicky thing is that she uses the word "dwarfs" a lot. However, she flips it's meaning. Dwarfs means that something that dwarfs something else looks much smaller next to it (i.e. A dwarfs B, and A is smaller than B). Sometimes she uses it in this correct way, and other times she uses it to mean the thing that dwarfs the other thing is bigger (i.e. A dwarfs B, and A is bigger than B). As a writer, she should know what she's saying, but should certainly at the very least be consistent.
I would let the dwarfs thing go, but the automotive errors are not forgivable, and they smack you in every chapter. If she is wrong about so much in the auto industry, it's hard to accept her take in the book. I don't disagree with her notion, but, really, get some fact checkers, or get educated about your topic.
Most recent customer reviews
I was somewhat disapointed. Would not have read if I would have
realized when it was written.Read more