TTAC In The WSJ: A Review Of "Once Upon A Car"

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Having read most of the latest raft of auto industry books, with titles like “Car Crash,” “Overhaul,” and “Sixty To Zero,” I have to say, Bill Vlasic’s “Once Upon A Car” is my favorite of the bunch. Not only does it lack the parochial form and voice that define too many of theses tomes, it populates its narrative with rich dialogue and intriguing character studies. In short, it’s got all of the lessons about industry, culture, and competition that you’d expect from a modern study of the auto industry, but it presents them in such a way that they never feel like a lecture or a business school study. Instead you get a well-spun yarn, still-newsworthy anecdotes and an unvarnished look at industry dynamics on their highest level. If ever there were to be a modern movie based on the auto industry, Vlasic’s book should be its basis. Read my full review over at The Wall Street Journal.

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  • Paul Niedermeyer Paul Niedermeyer on Nov 26, 2011

    Great review. Now I'll have to borrow your copy.

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    • Doctor olds Doctor olds on Nov 28, 2011

      @Contrarian- GM is again the largest selling carmaker in the world, as well as the two largest national markets, China and USA. They have regained significant share here this year and the company netted nearly $7B in the first 3/4 of 2011. They have not received a dime from government since Treasury financed the bankruptcy and restructuring. New GM is an unqualified success story and the term "resurrection" is quite appropriate .

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Nov 26, 2011

    I enjoyed review and added book to my Amazon wish list. I have older book "Comeback: The Fall & Rise of the American Automobile Industry" by Paul Ingrassia and Joseph White. It opened my eyes to what was going on in Detroit in 80s-90s. It also ends with hope that Detroit Big 3 comeback in 90s was for real. But authors did not hold much hope though knowing bad habits of Big 3 management and labor force very well. I do not understand though what GM tried to accomplish with merger?

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    • Aristurtle Aristurtle on Nov 27, 2011

      @bizzarodave GM going bankrupt would screw up the suppliers that they both use for many parts and would further depress the already-screwed-up consumer economy in Ford's largest market. There's a reason Ford lobbied in favor of the GM bailout.

  • Mikey Mikey on Nov 27, 2011

    Great review. I'll pick up a copy,first chance I get.

  • Budda-Boom Budda-Boom on Nov 28, 2011

    Ditto. Very good WSJ review. Sounds like a must read. Thanks Ed!