"Even a balanced transportation system [Serrin wanted lots more mass transit] will depend in large measure upon individual vehicles of some sort, and it is logical to assume that GM, Ford, Chrysler, and American Motors will build them. Even if one disagrees [as Serrin did] with the philosophy of men like Richard Gerstenberg of General Motors Corporation, Henry Ford II and Lee Iacocca for Ford Motor Company, and Lynn Townsend of Chrysler Corporation, one should not doubt the business abilities of these men or their subordinates. They do not intend to see their corporations become extinct; it is vacuous to think that the corporations will become extinct."
In the 34 years since these words appeared, each of the Big Three has been threatened with bankruptcy, while American Motors is no longer a factor. Serrin is a good writer and a good reporter but, like almost everyone else concerned with the auto industry in the 1970s, a poor prophet.
By Michael Barone