Once Upon a Car: The Fall and Resurrection of America's Big Three Auto Makers; GM, Ford, and Chrysler

By Bill Vlasic

Once Upon a Car is the brilliantly reported inside-the-boardrooms-and-factories story of Detroit's fight for survival, going beyond the headlines to chronicle how the country's Big Three auto companies--General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler--teetered on the brink of collapse during the 2008 financial crisis. In a tale that reads like a corporate thriller, Bill Vlasic, who has covered the auto industry for more than fifteen years, first for the Detroit News and now for the New York Times, takes readers into the executive offices, assembly plants, and union halls to introduce a cast of memorable characters, many of whom are speaking out for the first time, including the executives who struggled to save their companies but in the end had to seek a controversial, last-gasp rescue from the U.S. government.

Vlasic goes behind the scenes to portray the men at the top during Detroit's last stand. Rick Wagoner, the CEO of General Motors, tried to turn around a dying company, only to be forced to resign as a condition of the government bailout. Bill Ford, great-grandson of the legendary Henry Ford, had the will to keep Ford alive but needed the guts to hire an unknown outsider, Alan Mulally, to transform the company before it crashed. At Chrysler, leadership was constantly changing as new owners tried in vain to fix the smallest of the beleaguered Big Three. And through it all, the president of the United Auto Workers union, Ron Gettelfinger, fought to save the jobs of the men and women who build American-made cars and trucks.

This tale of an iconic industry in crisis is more than a big business drama and provides a rich, unvarnished portrait of how Detroit's decline affected tens of thousands of workers and dozens of communities nationwide. The story moves from the gleaming corporate skyscrapers and massive auto plants to the halls of the U.S. Congress and into the Oval Office, where President Obama and his aides wrestled with how to keep General Motors and Chrysler from going out of business. Vlasic shows why the bailout worked, and how Detroit can succeed under new leadership and build automobiles equal to any in the world.

Once Upon a Car tells a uniquely American tale of success, failure, and redemption. It is an important and illuminating chapter in an astonishing story that is still unfolding. And no one is more qualified to write it than Bill Vlasic.


JACK COVERT SELECTS: Jack Covert Selects - American Icon

Posted March 9, 2012, 4:19 PM with category of Management & Workplace Culture
American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company by Bryce G. Hoffman, Crown Business, 432 Pages, $26. 00, Hardcover, March 2012, ISBN 9780307886057 One of my favorite books of 2011 was Once Upon a Car by Bill Vlasic. Read more

NEWS & OPINION: 2011 Business Book Awards: The Short List

Posted January 4, 2012, 7:40 PM with category of Management & Workplace Culture
What was the Best Business Book written in 2011? Watch this 90 second video and find out more. Ok, so we didn't tell you what the best book was. Read more

JACK COVERT SELECTS: Jack Covert Selects - Once Upon a Car

Posted October 14, 2011, 1:45 PM with category of Management & Workplace Culture
Once Upon a Car: The Fall and Resurrection of America’s Big Three Auto Makers—GM, Ford and Chrysler by Bill Vlasic, William Morrow & Company, 400 Pages, $26. 99, Hardcover, October 2011, ISBN 9780061845628 A couple of years ago, Andrew Ross Sorkin wrote Too Big to Fail, a brilliant and unparalleled “fly on the wall” narrative deep from the heart of the financial meltdown. Now, Bill Vlasic has written the equivalent about the American automotive industry meltdown from 2005 to the present. Read more


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ISBN: 9780061845628

About the Hardcover

Publisher William Morrow & Company
Publish date 10/01/2011
Pages 394
ISBN-13 9780061845628
ISBN-10 0061845620
Language English

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