Market Dominance: How Firms Gain, Hold, or Lose It and the Impact on Economic Performance

By David I. Rosenbaum | Go to book overview

7
THE RISE AND FALL OF FORD AND GENERAL MOTORS IN THE U.S. AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY: A TALE TWICE TOLD

Lawrence J. White

How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle!

-- 2 Samuel 1:23


INTRODUCTION

The U.S. automobile industry's existence has now reached the century mark, with formal production of motor vehicles having started in the last decade of the nineteenth century. During these hundred years there have been two eras during which a single firm played a role as the dominant firm in the industry: The Ford Motor Company had this position from about 1913 until the mid-1920s, and the General Motors Corporation had it from the early 1930s through the late 1970s.

This industry thus provides us with two opportunities to examine the behaviors of dominant firms and of the other firms in its industry. The particular eras during which these separate episodes occurred--the first during the comparative youth of the industry, the second encompassing its considerably more mature phase--provide differing backdrops. There are interesting insights that can be gained from these experiences.

As will be clear in the discussion that follows, basic economic forces were clearly important in the shaping of the automobile industry and in the rise and fall

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Market Dominance: How Firms Gain, Hold, or Lose It and the Impact on Economic Performance
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • Notes 9
  • 2 - Dominance in the Oil Industry: Standard Oil from 1865 to 1911 11
  • Notes 33
  • 3 - Tobacco: Predation and Persistent Market Power 39
  • Notes 51
  • 4 - Alcoa and the U.S. Aluminum Industry 55
  • Notes 66
  • 5 - Dow Chemical and the Magnesium Industry 69
  • Notes 86
  • 6 - Eastman Kodak in the Photographic Film Industry: Picture Imperfect? 89
  • Notes 107
  • 7 - The Rise and Fall of Ford and General Motors in the U.S. Automobile Industry: A Tale Twice Told 109
  • Notes 126
  • 8 - The Rise and Fall of IBM 131
  • Notes 150
  • 9 - Microsoft 153
  • Notes 172
  • 10 - Blue Cross: Health Insurance 175
  • Notes 190
  • 11 - AT&T's Grand Design for Dominance in the Global Information Age 195
  • Notes 224
  • 12 - Conclusion 227
  • Notes 254
  • Bibliography 257
  • Index 267
  • About the Author 273
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