Behind the Wheel at Chrysler: The Iacocca Legacy

Doron P. Levin, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $25 (368p) ISBN 978-0-15-111703-1
In a hard-hitting, demythologizing portrait of former Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca, Levin dismantles the public image of Iacocca as a shrewd, can-do executive and the savior of Chrysler. A Detroit Free Press business columnist, Levin paints Iacocca as a self-aggrandizing, fame-obsessed car man who hogged credit for rescuing Chrysler from bankruptcy in 1979-80, when, in fact, the bailout was a collective effort, with key roles played by Chrysler honchos Steve Miller and Gerald Greenwald. In Levin's scathing portrait, Iacocca injected flair into Chrysler models, making superficial rather than substantive changes and demonizing Japanese automakers instead of learning from their stunning leaps in efficiency and quality. According to Levin, Iacocca's bungling, blindness and preoccupation with celebrity nearly drove Chrysler once again into bankruptcy, causing the board to force him into retirement in 1992. This meticulous expose lays bare the gaping holes in Iacocca's bestselling 1984 autobiography. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
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Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-15-600474-9
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