Monday, October 07, 2013

Detroit and much more

Today's WSJ includes "GM Prods Dealers to Sell Cars Online ...Software Lets Shoppers Bypass the Showroom."  There is an app. But there is also understandable opposition from dealers, most of whom have state franchise laws on their side. Dealers are influential in local politics.

I just read David Nye's America's Assembly Line which I greatly enjoyed. The book is a great blend of history, economics and engineering.  Students in at least these three fields will learn plenty.

But, to go back to today's GM news, Nye mentions that in 2002 only 6 percent of American cars were made to order whereas more than 60 percent were ordered this way by Japanese and German customers. "As a result, US automobile production was still 'pushed' to the consumer far more than it was pulled by orders" (p. 236).

Even great authors stumble. Why, of all people, does Nye mention "planned obsolescence" (p. 261)? Surely, Nye knows that the international competition he writes about has increased the quality and longevity of cars.  Nevertheless, a great read.