James M. Laux European Automobile Industry

ISBN 13: 9780805738001

European Automobile Industry

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9780805738001: European Automobile Industry
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Since the birth of the gasoline-fueled automobile in the mid-1880s, the car market has grown to become Europe's largest among consumer products. The internal combustion engine--a feasible technology after the appearance of the petroleum industry in 1859--quickly supplanted the hoopla surrounding the introduction of the bicycle at the end of the Victorian era. With France taking the lead in manufacturing, the automobile industry was soon on its way to being king among the economies of Europe's industrial and industrializing countries.
In The European Automobile Industry James M. Laux looks at motor-vehicle manufacturing on the Continent from 1890 to the present, paying particular attention to the postwar spurt of growth that established which of Europe's various automakers would prevail--namely, large companies with deep financial resources. Complete with numerous tables, charts, maps, and photographs, Laux's chronological study describes the various facets of automobile production, especially the novel use of trucks, motorcycles, tanks, and other military vehicles during the two world wars.
Laux carefully examines how European factory owners emulated American success in production and sales between the wars, how the postwar market boom chipped away at American dominance of the industry, and how Japanese models in turn began to cut into the world market in the competitive 1980s. In this incisive overview, Laux determines that Europe's most successful automaking firms were generally those which identified a market and offered this market a product at a reasonable price.
Europe's unprecedented advancements in automotive technology after 1945 constitute a goodly portion of Laux's assessment: while U.S. automakers busied themselves with body styling and gadgets of tertiary importance, the Europeans developed steel-belted radial tires, disc brakes, fuel injection, turbo diesel engines, and other mechanical improvements.
This concise analysis shows how the conquests and pratfalls of the industry's leaders and followers, movers and shakers have drafted a blueprint to which today's ever-more-lucrative world auto market prudently adheres. Laux's probe of such a high-stakes business should be invaluable to those studying or researching European, business, and economic history, and to those interested in the evolution of the automobile itself.

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Laux, James M.
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