Tag Archives: AMC

Historiography: The Last of The Independents

Tweet The idea of a merger was to bring two entities together, find synergies between the two and eventually create a single path towards success. This is a concept that business students study through cases in their coursework. When it … Continue reading

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Historiography: The “Ugly” Subcompacts of the 1970s

Tweet AMC Gremlin. Photo by Randy Stern Were these cars considered “subcompacts” or “compacts?” That is a 44-year old question that has scratched the heads of those of us who lament and laugh of these cars. In particular, how do … Continue reading

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James Garner 1928-2014

TweetJames Garner was not just some Hollywood actor. Yet, he was quite good at roles that suited his persona and beyond. We lost the actor this weekend at age 86. Garner lived a long life, and possibly outlived those contemporaries … Continue reading

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“Carmmunity” at The Park

If you want to know where “carmmunity” is celebrated – go to a car show or meet somewhere.

There are plenty of them across the calendar year – everywhere you can imagine for any brand possible. In some places, you can throw a stone and a few cars would gather with their owners swapping ideas on how to improve their vehicle’s looks and/or performance.

Think of these shows as places of worship, combined with a picnic and an open-air market. The faithful come together with their vehicles for a celebration of their interest. The joyful noise you hear is a engine at full throttle.

This is my kind of place. Continue reading

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Five Favorites of a Licensed 16-Year-Old

Tweet Photo courtesy of the Ford Motor Company. Just like most Californians, I earned my driver’s license at age 16. It wasn’t easy. I failed the first time – on my birthday. I took it hard, but I went back … Continue reading

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Ghosts Along the Assembly Line – The Hometown Edition

Tweet General Motors’ Van Nuys Assembly plant. GM Photo, courtesy of CRG, www.camaros.org Growing up in Southern California, I was blessed with reminders that I did live in a form of paradise. Paradise is a relative term. Normally, that would … Continue reading

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Ghosts Along the Assembly Line – The Upper Midwest Edition

In the last State of the Union address, President Barack Obama proclaimed that the automotive industry in the U.S.A. is “back.” Some may argue that the industry’s return to prominence has not been fully realized, but there are signs that it is on the upswing.

However, this is not the same automotive industry of my childhood. Nor is it the same industry of my ancestors. Progress in manufacturing and an emphasis on globalization changed the way we view the manufacture of automobiles. On one hand, it had helped North America by the opening of production centers by non-Detroit-based automobile corporations.

On the flip side, the strategy of bringing the automobile closer to its marketplace through localized manufacturing plants evolved to accommodate a wider offering of products and advances in transportation and technology to eliminate the need for extra production capacity. Since the 1970s, this meant losses in manufacturing jobs and idle facilities – some reborn into other uses.

There are now generations of Americans who have forgotten that there was a mighty production facility in their community. Though some of them have not seen the wrecking ball, others either resemble a lay of wasteland or have been built to unrecognizable specifications.

There are some manufacturing facilities that continue to produce automobiles. They are imposing sites, sprawling for acres with telltale signs of industrial might. These continue to fuel the engine of the American economy.

A tour of these facilities – operational or otherwise – is in order. I will start just a few miles from home… Continue reading

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The Class of 1982: The Franco-American Affair

If divine foreign intervention did not come in time for an American automaker, the company in question would have probably ceased to exist by 1982.

It is an audacious statement to make where history was thwarted to save a company from extinction. We’ve seen this many times over the past 30 years where Detroit-based automakers sought alliances and acquisitions with other automakers around the globe. To recall each one would be a massive effort to digest and analyze. Yet, most of the readers of this site have probably forgotten the scenario that put American Motors on the brink before Renault came in to assist them through most of the 1980s. Continue reading

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Historiography: The American Compact Car – Fifty Years Ago

TweetFifty years ago, the North American automotive industry came to their senses. The rise of Volkswagen ushered in a period where the domestic automotive industry had to respond to a swath of smaller imported automobiles penetrating sales. Not to mention … Continue reading

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They Were Ugly Alright…

Tweet 2001 Pontiac Aztek (c) 2009 GM Corp. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – or, so they say! There’s nothing like ugliness that makes the world a bit more challenging sometimes. Take me, for example! Oh, believe … Continue reading

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