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Automobile Industry

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  1. 10.1 hrs • 8/16/2016 • Unabridged

    Recounting his three years in Korea, the highest-ranking non-Korean executive at Hyundai sheds light on a business culture very few Western journalists ever experience in this revealing, moving, and hilarious memoir. When Frank Ahrens, a middle-aged bachelor and eighteen-year veteran at the Washington Post, fell in love with a diplomat, his life changed dramatically. Following his new bride to her first appointment in Seoul, South Korea, Frank traded the newsroom for a corporate suite, becoming director of global communications at Hyundai Motors. In a land whose population is ninety-seven percent Korean, he was one of fewer than ten non-Koreans in a company of 5,000 employees. For the next three years, Frank traveled to auto shows and press conferences around the world, pitching Hyundai to former colleagues while trying to navigate cultural differences at home and at work. While his appreciation for absurdity enabled him to laugh his way through many awkward encounters, his job began to take a toll on his marriage and family. Eventually, he became a vice president—the highest-ranking non-Korean in the history of Hyundai—but at an untenable price. Filled with unique insights and told in his engaging, humorous voice, Seoul Man sheds light on a culture few Westerners know, and is a delightfully funny and heartwarming adventure for anyone who has ever felt like a fish out of water—all of us.

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    Seoul Man by Frank Ahrens

    Seoul Man

    10.1 hrs • 8/16/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 7.5 hrs • 12/6/2015 • Unabridged

    A New York Times bestselling author shares an inside look at how Mercedes-Benz transformed themselves into a best-in-class, customer-obsessed organization. Driven to Delight offers an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at CEO Steve Cannon and his leadership team’s ambitious, multipronged strategy to elevate the company’s customer experience to best in class across all brands and industries.The author worked closely with leaders inside the organization to understand the customer experience transformation as a top operational and cultural priority for Mercedes-Benz. This audiobook gives readers an exclusive, all-access look at senior leadership’s vision, strategy, and tactical steps to create and sustain the wide-sweeping actions needed to deliver the best customer experience.

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    Driven to Delight

    7.5 hrs • 12/6/15 • Unabridged
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  3. 11.3 hrs • 12/1/2015 • Unabridged

    In Car Crazy, G. Wayne Miller, author of Toy Wars: The Epic Struggle between G.I. Joe, Barbie, and the Companies That Make Them and Men and Speed: A Wild Ride through NASCAR’s Breakout Season, takes listeners back to the wild and wooly years of the early automobile era-from 1893, when the first US-built auto was introduced, through 1908, when General Motors was founded and Ford’s Model T went on the market. The motorcar was new, paved roads few, and devotees of this exciting and unregulated technology battled with citizens who thought the car a dangerous scourge of the wealthy which was shattering a more peaceful way of life. As the machine transformed American culture for better and worse, early corporate battles for survival and market share transform the economic landscape. Among the pioneering competitors are: Ransom E. Olds, founder of Olds Motor Works, inventor of the assembly line (Henry Ford copied him), and creator of a new company called REO; Frederic L Smith, cutthroat businessman who became CEO of Olds Motor Works after Olds was ousted in a corporate power play; William C. “Billy” Durant of Buick Motor Company (who would soon create General Motors), and genius inventor Henry Ford. The fiercest fight pits Henry Ford against Frederic Smith of Olds. Olds was the early winner in the race for dominance, but now the Olds empire is in trouble, its once-industry leading market share shrinking, its cash dwindling. Ford is just revving up. But this is Ford’s third attempt at a successful auto company—and if this one fails, quite possibly his last. So Smith fights Ford with the weapons he knows best: lawyers, blackmail, intimidation, and a vicious advertising smear campaign that ultimately backfires. Increasingly desperate, in need of dazzling PR that will help lure customers to his showrooms, Smith stages the most outrageous stunt of the era: the first car race across the continental United States, with two of his Olds cars. The race pits the dashing writer Percy Megargel, a wealthy New Yorker, against everyman mechanic Dwight B. Huss, a sturdy Midwesterner-men who share a passion for adventure and the new machine. Covered breathlessly by the press and witnessed by thousands in the communities they pass through, Megargel and Huss encounter marvel, mishap, conflict, and danger on their wild 3,500-mile race from Manhattan to Portland, Oregon, most of it through regions lacking paved roads-or any roads at all … Meanwhile, the Ford/Smith battle develops in the newspapers and courtroom dramas. Its outcome will shape the American car industry for a century to come. Car Crazy is an exciting story of popular culture, business, and sport at the dawn of the twentieth century, filled with compelling, larger-than-life characters, each an American original.

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    Car Crazy

    11.3 hrs • 12/1/15 • Unabridged
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  4. 10.8 hrs • 7/31/2014 • Unabridged

    A journalist’s inside look at what makes Honda the most consistently innovative and effective automaker Since its birth as a motorcycle company in 1949, Honda has steadily grown into the world’s fifth largest automaker and top engine manufacturer, as well as one of the most beloved, most profitable, and most consistently innovative multinational corporations. What drives the company that keeps creating and improving award-winning and bestselling models like the Civic, Accord, Odyssey, CR-V, and Pilot? According to award-winning journalist Jeffrey Rothfeder, what truly distinguishes Honda from its competitors, especially archrival Toyota, is a deep commitment to a set of unorthodox management tenets. The Honda Way, as insiders call it, is notable for decentralization over corporate control, simplicity over complexity, experimentation over Six Sigma–driven efficiency, and unyielding cynicism toward the status quo and whatever is assumed to be the truth. Honda believes in freely borrowing from the past as a bridge to “innovative discontinuity” in the present. And those are just a few of the ideas that the company’s colorful founder, Soichiro Honda, embedded in the DNA of his start-up sixty-five years ago. Rothfeder digs deep into Honda’s culture, management, and global strategy to find what makes the company tick. He offers a behind-the-scenes look at its revolutionary factory in Lincoln, Alabama, a paradigm of Honda’s unique flexible manufacturing system. At Lincoln, several different types of cars can be produced on a single assembly line any given hour, and the compact plant manufactures up to 300,000 vehicles and engines a year, making it one of the world’s most productive. Drawing on access to dozens of high-level Honda executives, Rothfeder identifies the three core principles that every Honda employee shares, and shows how the company’s flexible manufacturing model, unique supply chain management techniques, and unorthodox (and contentious) daily brainstorming meetings are just a few keys to its success. Rothfeder makes a convincing case that Honda should serve as the model for a manufacturing rebirth in America.

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    Driving Honda

    10.8 hrs • 7/31/14 • Unabridged
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  5. 5.3 hrs • 3/1/2014 • Unabridged

    When Bob Lutz retired from General Motors in 2010 after an unparalleled forty-seven-year career in the auto industry, he was one of the most respected leaders in American business. He had survived all kinds of managers over those decades: tough and timid, analytical and irrational, charismatic and antisocial, and some who seemed to shift frequently among all those traits. His experiences made him an expert on leadership, every bit as much as he was an expert on cars and trucks. Now Lutz is revealing the leaders—good, bad, and ugly—who made the strongest impression on him throughout his career. Icons and Idiots is a collection of shocking and often hilarious true stories and the lessons Lutz drew from them. From enduring the sadism of a Marine Corps drill instructor, to working with a washed-up alcoholic, to taking over the reins from a convicted felon, he reflects on the complexities of all-too-human leaders. No textbook or business school course can fully capture their idiosyncrasies, foibles, and weaknesses—which can make or break companies in the real world. Lutz shows that we can learn just as much from the most stubborn, stupid, and corrupt leaders as we can from the inspiring geniuses. He offers fascinating profiles of icons and idiots such as Eberhard von Kuenheim: the famed CEO of BMW was an aristocrat–cum–street fighter who ruled with secrecy, fear, and deft maneuvering. Harold A. “Red” Poling: a Ford CEO and the ultimate bean counter. If it couldn’t be quantified, he didn’t want to know about it. Lee Iacocca: the legendary Chrysler CEO appeared to be brilliant and bold but was often vulnerable and insecure behind the scenes. G. Richard “Rick” Wagoner: the perfect peacetime CEO whose superior intelligence couldn’t save GM from steep decline and a government bailout.

    Available Formats: CD

    Icons and Idiots

    Read by Wes Talbot
    5.3 hrs • 3/1/14 • Unabridged
    CD
  6. 5.3 hrs • 6/4/2013 • Unabridged

    When Bob Lutz retired from General Motors in 2010, after an unparalleled forty-seven year career in the auto industry, he was one of the most respected leaders in American business. He had survived all kinds of managers over those decades: tough and timid, analytical and irrational, charismatic and antisocial, and some who seemed to shift frequently among all those traits. His experiences made him an expert on leadership, every bit as much as he was an expert on cars and trucks. Now Lutz is revealing the leaders—good, bad, and ugly—who made the strongest impression on him throughout his career. Icons and Idiots is a collection of shocking and often hilarious true stories and the lessons Lutz drew from them. From enduring the sadism of a Marine Corps drill instructor, to working with a washed-up alcoholic, to taking over the reins from a convicted felon, he reflects on the complexities of all-too-human leaders. No textbook or business school course can fully capture their idiosyncrasies, foibles and weaknesses, which can make or break companies in the real world. Lutz shows we can learn just as much from the most stubborn, stupid, and corrupt leaders as we can from the inspiring geniuses.

    Available Formats: Download

    Icons and Idiots

    Read by Wes Talbot
    5.3 hrs • 6/4/13 • Unabridged
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  7. 7.3 hrs • 5/21/2013 • Unabridged

    In the heart of America, a metropolis is quietly destroying itself. Detroit, once the richest city in the nation, is now its poorest. Once the vanguard of America’s machine age—mass production, automobiles, and blue-collar jobs—Detroit is now America’s capital for unemployment, illiteracy, foreclosure, and dropouts. With the steel-eyed reportage that has become his trademark and the righteous indignation that only a native son can possess, journalist Charlie LeDuff sets out to uncover what has brought low this once vibrant city, his city. In doing so, he uncovers the deeply human drama of a city filled with some of the strongest—and strangest—people our country has to offer.

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    Detroit

    7.3 hrs • 5/21/13 • Unabridged
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  8. 8.9 hrs • 3/8/2010 • Unabridged

    Six months after its American introduction in 1985, the Yugo was a punch line; within a year, it was a staple of late-night comedy. By 2000, NPR’s Car Talk declared it “the worst car of the millennium.” And for most Americans that’s where the story begins and ends. Hardly. The short, unhappy life of the car, the men who built it, the men who imported it, and the decade that embraced and discarded it is rollicking and astounding, and it is one of the greatest untold business-cum-morality tales of the 1980s. Mix one rabid entrepreneur, several thousand “good” communists, a willing US State Department, the shortsighted Detroit auto industry, and improvident bankers, shake vigorously, and you’ve got The Yugo: The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History. Brilliantly re-creating the amazing confluence of events that produced the Yugo, Yugoslav expert Jason Vuic uproariously tells the story of the car that became an international joke: the American CEO who happens upon a Yugo right when his company needs to find a new import or go under, a State Department eager to aid Yugoslavia’s nonaligned communist government, Zastava Automobiles, which overhauls its factory to produce an American-ready Yugo in six months, and a hole left by Detroit in the cheap subcompact market that creates a race to the bottom that leaves the Yugo … at the bottom.

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    The Yugo

    8.9 hrs • 3/8/10 • Unabridged
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  9. 12.3 hrs • 1/18/2010 • Unabridged

    Crash Course is the epic saga of the American automobile industry’s rise and demise, a compelling story of hubris, denial, missed opportunities, and self-inflicted wounds that culminates with the president of the United States ushering two of Detroit’s Big Three car companies—once proud symbols of prosperity—through bankruptcy. The cost to American taxpayers topped $100 billion—enough to buy every car and truck sold in America in the first half of 2009. With unprecedented access, Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Ingrassia takes us from factory floors, to small-town dealerships, to Detroit’s boardrooms to the inner sanctums of the White House. He reveals why President Barack Obama personally decided to save Chrysler when many of his advisers opposed the idea. Ingrassia provides the dramatic story behind Obama’s dismissal of General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner and the angry reaction from GM’s board—the same people who had watched idly while the company plunged into penury. In Crash Course, Ingrassia answers the big questions: Was Detroit’s self-destruction inevitable? What were the key turning points? Why did Japanese automakers manage American workers better than the American companies themselves did? Ingrassia also describes dysfunctional corporate cultures (even as GM’s market share plunged, the company continued business as usual) and Detroit’s perverse system of “inverse layoffs” (which allowed union members to invoke seniority to avoid work). Along the way we meet Detroit’s frustrated reformers and witness the wrenching decisions that Ford executives had to make to avoid GM’s fate. Informed by Ingrassia’s twenty-five years of experience covering the auto industry for the Wall Street Journal, and showing an appreciation for Detroit’s profound influence on our country’s society and culture, Crash Course is a uniquely American and deeply instructive story, one not to be missed.

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    Crash Course

    12.3 hrs • 1/18/10 • Unabridged
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  10. 8.2 hrs • 5/14/2008 • Unabridged

    To an outsider, Toyota is hard to understand. The company moves forward gradually while also advancing in big leaps. It is frugal with its resources while spending extravagantly on people and projects. It is both efficient and redundant; it cultivates an environment of stability and paranoia; it is hierarchical and bureaucratic, but encourages dissent; it demands that communication be simplified while building complex communication networks. These contradictions are rampant at Toyota because its culture and managers intentionally embrace contradiction, opposites, and paradox.  Granted unprecedented access to the inner workings of Toyota, the authors spent six years researching the company and performing more than 220 interviews with Toyota employees, distributors, and car dealers in order to determine what makes Toyota one of the world's best companies.  Extreme Toyota offers an inside look at the radical contradictions within the company, created by its own management, and how these help Toyota outperform its competition. By putting a premium on creativity and paradoxical thinking as a corporate resource, Toyota has become the best car manufacturer and one of the most successful companies on earth. This audiobook takes a fascinating inside look at what makes Toyota tick.

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    Extreme Toyota

    8.2 hrs • 5/14/08 • Unabridged
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  11. 29.3 hrs • 1/22/2008 • Unabridged

    Henry Ford, a major architect of modern America, has lived on in the imagination of his fellow citizens as an enduring figure of fascination, an inimitable individual, a controversial personality, and a social visionary from the moment his Model T brought the automobile to the masses and triggered the consumer revolution. But never before has his genius been brought to life so vividly as by Steven Watts in this major new biography. Watts, the author of the much acclaimed The Magic Kingdom: Walt Disney and the American Way of Life, has produced a superbly researched study of a man who was a bundle of contradictions. Ford was the entrepreneur who first made the automobile affordable but who grew skeptical of consumerism’s corrosive impact on moral values, an employer who insisted on a living wage for his workers but stridently opposed unions, who established the assembly line but worried about its effect on the work ethic, who welcomed African Americans to his company in the age of Jim Crow but was a rabid anti-Semite. He was the private man who had a warm, loving marriage while siring a son with a mistress; a father who drove his heir, Edsel, so relentlessly that it contributed to his early death; a folksy social philosopher and at one time, perhaps, the most popular figure in America, who treated his workers so harshly that they turned against him; creator of the largest, most sophisticated factory in the world who preferred spending time in his elaborate re-creation of a nineteenth century village; and the greatest businessman of his age who haplessly lost control of his own company in his declining years. Watts poignantly shows us how a Michigan farm boy from modest circumstances emerged as one of America’s richest men and one of its first mass-culture celebrities, one who became a folk hero to millions of ordinary citizens because of his support of high wages and material abundance for everyday workers and yet also excited the admiration of figures as diverse as Vladimir Lenin and Adolf Hitler, John D. Rockefeller and Woodrow Wilson. Disclosing the man behind the myth and situating his achievements and controversies firmly within the context of early twentieth century America, Watts has given us a comprehensive, illuminating biography of an American icon.

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    The People’s Tycoon

    29.3 hrs • 1/22/08 • Unabridged
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