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The Reckoning by David Halberstam

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32. THE STRUGGLE AT THE TOP

THERE WERE CLEAR SIGNS in the early seventies that the domestic market was changing. Some of the more iconoclastic people at Ford and GM had been bothered by Volkswagen’s success with the Beetle in America, not so much by the sales numbers as by the fact that comparatively affluent and sophisticated people were buying it. There were other signs of alienation. In California by 1970 the Japanese cars were beginning to sell vigorously in the lower echelons of the market. The cars were relatively inexpensive and were winning an enviable reputation for quality and economical gas mileage. Franklin Murphy, who was on the Ford board and who was the head of the Los Angeles Times, would mention the Japanese invasion to his fellow ...

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