At the end of 2008, Ford Motor Company was just months away from running out of cash. With the auto industry careening toward ruin, Congress offered all three Detroit automakers a bailout. General Motors and Chrysler grabbed the taxpayer lifeline, but Ford decided to save itself. Under the leadership of charismatic CEO Alan Mulally, Ford had already put together a bold plan to unify its divided global operations, transform its lackluster product lineup, and overcome a dysfunctional culture of infighting, backstabbing, and excuses. It was an extraordinary risk, but it was the only way the Ford family - America's last great industrial dynasty - could hold on to their company.
Mulally and his team pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in business history. As the rest of Detroit collapsed, Ford went from the brink of bankruptcy to being the most profitable automaker in the world. American Icon is the compelling, behind-the-scenes account of that epic turnaround. On the verge of collapse, Ford went outside the auto industry and recruited Mulally - the man who had already saved Boeing from the deathblow of 9/11 - to lead a sweeping restructuring of a company that had been unable to overcome decades of mismanagement and denial.
Mulally applied the principles he developed at Boeing to streamline Ford's inefficient operations, force its fractious executives to work together as a team, and spark a product renaissance in Dearborn. He also convinced the United Auto Workers to join his fight for the soul of American manufacturing.
Bryce Hoffman reveals the untold story of the covert meetings with UAW leaders that led to a game-changing contract, Bill Ford's battle to hold the Ford family together when many were ready to cash in their stock and write off the company, and the secret alliance with Toyota and Honda that helped prop up the American automotive supply base. In one of the great management narratives of our time, Hoffman puts the reader inside the boardroom as Mulally uses his celebrated Business Plan Review meetings to drive change and force Ford to deal with the painful realities of the American auto industry.
Hoffman was granted unprecedented access to Ford's top executives and top-secret company documents. He spent countless hours with Alan Mulally, Bill Ford, the Ford family, former executives, labor leaders, and company directors. In the best-selling tradition of Too Big to Fail and The Big Short, American Icon is narrative nonfiction at its vivid and colorful best.
©2012 Bryce G. Hoffman (P)2012 Tantor
"For those interested in the recent political interventions and maneuvers in the auto industry, this book provides a fly-on-the-wall view of the meetings and behind-the-scenes deal making necessary to revive an ailing giant." (Library Journal)
I have thoroughly enjoyed this book, even though I am not a car guy and, as a result, am totally bored by discussion of car brands and part details.
Two reasons why this book is so great:
1.It is not a book about another business or industry failure -> It details how to run and save a business, in pretty granular terms.
2.You find yourself rooting for the major players to succeed…I found the insights in the main players fascinating
Bryce Hoffman – you did an outstanding job…this is a work of art you should be extremely proud of.
I love Alan
The joys of leadership
The company was always on the brink and leadership saved the day
no man is perfect but it seem the authors feel the subject is-I dont want the dirt just the man
Excellent book! A must read for somebody who is somewhat interested in Ford and Big 3 and the way they do business.
My reviews are always pending.
My dad customized a 1979 Econoline-150 van with a wheelchair ramp for me. It was the family van, and as I got older, I got the keys to the "Brown Can.". The old goat ran for almost 20 years and got me through college, camping trips,concerts and lots of fun. We were sad to see the beast go. If Ford made an accessible mini van, I would probably have another Ford right now, instead of a Japanese import.
"American Icon" is a true success story that I kept rooting for. There is something about seeing a Ford on the road and having pride in America. One of the best business stories that I've listened to in a long time. Ford had great leadership from the very beginning. A few major hiccups during the dot com era, but thanks to Alan Mulally, Ford is back again.
At one time, my family had all Ford's in the driveway. While they ran over 100k, they all rattle and all of their air conditioners stopped working. Unlike the E-150, they all had the new blue oval logo, instead of F O R D individually stamped out in steel and bolted on the hood.
Probably won't buy another Ford again, unless I need a heavy duty truck and if then I would get a Cummins Diesel.
Reading this book was my first introduction to Alan Mullaly and what went on with Ford before and after the financial crisis.
Certainly it is an interesting story, well told and Alan Mullaly comes across as a business genius and a leader I wish I could have had during my time in corporate America.
My reservations are that the book also reads like a long and rosy telling of "The Ford Story", in the same sense that Ford tries to tell "The Ford Story" in its advertising. It is a one-sided, effusive and unabashedly fawning account of Mullaly and Ford in general.
The author begins the book with an explanation of how he went to the Ford Executive Leadership, including Mullaly explaining that the a book should be written about "Ford's comeback" and how it would be a "positive story". An investigative journalist should not assure his subjects that the book he is writing will be positive, it removes any opportunity for balance - and in balance is found truth.
I certainly appreciate the fact that Ford saved itself rather than accept the Detroit bailout and I can see that Mullaly is an exceptional leader, but I want to read truth, not just advertising. And I felt uneasy during much of this book that I was being asked to trust Ford's own perception of itself.
I was disappointed to find out that there aren't other books by this author. Wow. I really enjoyed this. I routinely listen while driving to keep awake and alert, and this was as good as a good adventure book.
As a business owner, entrepreneur, this book really connected to me. The research is unbelievable and the pace of the narrative of events was riveting.
If you like business and suspense, get this book.
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