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With Tesla's Elon Musk and Rivian's RJ Scaringe, we have the Henry Ford and Alfred Sloan of electric vehicles (TSLA, GM, F)

Date published: 2019-09-16
Originally published: Here. Excerpt below.


Regular Business Insider readers know that every weekend, I write a take on something Tesla-related. This time around, I'm going to ask for patience as I preface the effort with a short auto-industry history lesson.
The development of the car business in the 20th century followed a predictable pattern: daring innovators gave way to savvy managers. The early days were the Wild West — or Wild Midwest, and the burgeoning industry was located mostly in the middle of the US, with Detroit as its capital — but after World War II and the emergence of a vast American consumer culture, automotive startups morphed into multinational corporations.
Read more: In the battle of the Tesla Model S and the Porsche Taycan, it' s really no contest
The two most important men in this story were Henry Ford, who needs no introduction, and Alfred Sloan, who does. It was Ford who laid the groundwork for the modern auto industry and pioneered both the effective moving assembly line and the idea of mass-market motorized transport with the Model T. The company that bears his name and that's still run in part by his great-grandson, board chairman Bill Ford, remains the No. 2 US car company.
Sloan, a more obscure personality, created the modern corporation in General Motors. At its peak in the 1950s, GM controlled half the US car market; it still controls about 20%. (The Germans and Japanese weren't really selling vehicles in the US during the Eisenhower administration.)
Henry Ford.
Getty Images
The Utopian Ford vs. the pragmatic Sloan
The key distinction between Henry Ford and Alfred Sloan was that Ford was something of a utopian (and, more troublingly, given to anti-Semitic propaganda) who harbored visionary, paternalistic attitudes toward his workforce and his customers. He believed that his workers should be paid enough to buy the cars they produced, and thereby created a virtuous circle, but he disliked credit and figured that there was no reason to sell Model T's that wer ...


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With Tesla's Elon Musk and Rivian's RJ Scaringe, we have the Henry Ford and Alfred Sloan of electric vehicles (TSLA, GM, F) https://t.co/OdVHqQrGV9 #Ford #Musk #Scaringe #tech pic.twitter.com/joS8ufLzbI

— NUS Trivia | tech news (@NusTrivia) September 16, 2019