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.
Avid audible listener for over 10 years.
I thought I wold listen to this book since business books is not my favorite genre. This book does a great job of explaining how Alan Mulally did a great job in saving Ford motor company. The basic lessons in the book are that
-Eventually every big organization will be complacent
-Board of directors are mostly in it for the money and prestige and are mostly clueless
-An organization that does not tolerate failure will eventually fail
-When you surround yourself with "yes men" you are disengaged from reality
-Sometimes smaller is better, Being big for the sake of being big is foolish.
The basic problem with Ford at the time of arrival of Mulally is that the company was out of touch with the market. Most of the top managers did not own or drive a classic "Ford" preferring the luxury brands of Jaguar and Range Rover which the Mulalay dumped as Ford divisions. He makes them drives Fords and even competing brands. When they do, they realize that at the time Fords kind of sucked. Ugly, poor quality, and no fun to drive. Most of America had come to that realization years earlier. No one was ever held accountable for failure at Ford because no one ever failed. He implements a management tracking system that makes it difficult to hide problems such as delays in car launches, quality issues, and cost problems. At one point he asks how many models of cars the company sells. Nobody knows so he goes to all the company web sites and prints out a picture of every model and shows it to the board. There were over 400 different models.
Its a good listen if you like cars and business. It does get tedious at times but you can just skip forward
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 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.
This was an inspiring account of how capitalism can work, when intelligent and transparent leaders are at the helm.
The narrator in this book seems to have bouts of multiple personality disorder, as he reads 3/4 of the book in a certain style, quotes people in that same style, then suddenly starts speaking with a British and other accents. Strangely inconsistent.
This book provides tremendous insight into how Ford Motor Company changed into the innovative company it is today vs a behind-the-competition company it was before. My son had worked for Ford before the turnaround and was quite vocal (in not a positive way) about company policies. This book showed how Alan Mulally was able to overcome these entrenched policies and personnel to produce a line of cars which is both innovative and what the public wants as well as an advertising campaign to successfully promote it. I rarely write reviews of books but was so impressed with this one that I had to let potential readers know that it is a well worth the listen.
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