Chrysler, Ford, Durant and Sloan

Founding Giants of the American Automotive Industry

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About the Book

The American automobile industry has been called the favorite child of capitalism. Four decades of exceptional earnings allowed Henry Ford, Walter Chrysler, William Durant and Alfred P. Sloan (both of General Motors), and their companies to make developments in production, design and marketing that have set the standard for consumer products and industrial firms. Four men are primarily responsible for these concepts and for the formation of “the big three.” New research lends important insight into the relationship of Walter Chrysler’s business career to the careers of the other three automotive giants.
This comparative study details the career histories and visions of each of the men, exploring their individual business methods, the innovations for which they were responsible, and their impacts on the industry.

About the Author(s)

H. Eugene Weiss spent nearly four decades with DaimlerChrysler. A lifelong interest in the automotive industry resulted in his three-year position organizing and researching in the Archives of the DaimlerChrysler Corporate Historical Collection, which gave him a unique viewpoint on the subject. Weiss divides his time between West Bloomfield, Michigan and Longboat Key, Florida.

Bibliographic Details

H. Eugene Weiss
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 196
Bibliographic Info: 50 photos, tables, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2003
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1611-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

1. Henry Ford (1863–1947)      3

Defining an American Industry      3

The Ford Motor Company      11

The Piquette Plant      22

Ford Highland Park      28

The Ford Dealership      36

Dodge Brothers Lawsuit      38

History Is Bunk      42

H. Ford vs. H. Leland      44

The Rouge Complex and the Model A and V8      46

Accounting and Management      56

The Arsenal of Democracy      59

Lincoln and Mercury      62

Summary of a Business Life      63

2. William Durant (1861–1946)      67

Salesmanship      67

Buick      69

General Motors      72

Banker Usury      74

General Motors Division of Chevrolet      76

A New General Motors      78

Durant After G.M.      81

Summary of a Life      83

3. Alfred Sloan (1875–1966)      84

The Early Career      84

A Professional Manager      85

United Motors Corporation      88

Reconstruction      90

Marketing and Product      96

Sloan as Head of G.M.      101

Greatness      104

Summary of a Life      107

4. Walter Chrysler (1875–1940)      109

The Railroad Years      109

The Buick Years      113

The Company Doctor: Willys      117

ZSB      118

The First Chrysler      119

The Company Doctor: Maxwell      120

The Elizabeth, N.J., Plant      121

The New Chrysler Car      123

The 1924 Chrysler      130

Chrysler Corporation      133

The Dodge Purchase      138

Plymouth      143

The Depression      148

The Air.ow      150

Chrysler Firsts      158

Styling      165

Non-Automotive      167

A Time to Relax      170

Summary of a Business Life      171

Epilogue: Four Business Lives      172

Career Goals and Commitment      172

The Part of Luck      173

Notes      177

Index      185

Book Reviews & Awards

“well-researched…masterfully weaves the stories into a rich tapestry that ties these visionaries together and presents a panoramic picture of the formative years of automobile manufacturing in this country. This in-depth comparative study utilizes recently discovered material to present these legendary men and the innovations for which they were responsible in a new light”—Cars & Parts; “it’s great reading!”—Old Cars Weekly.