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But the union of Chrysler, the blue-collar maker of Jeeps and minivans, with Daimler, the crown jewel of German industry, didn't turn out to be a merger made in heaven. When the dust settled, Daimler had bought Chrysler, and the shock waves reverberated on both sides of the Atlantic. An American icon lost its independence, and a German giant grew in power and influence. The DaimlerChrysler deal brought together two automotive superpowers and triggered a chain reaction among competitors seeking partners around the world.

Sesame Street: Elmo and Taye Diggs Go for a Drive

In a gripping narrative ripped from the daily headlines, Bill Vlasic and Bradley A. Stertz of the Detroit News go behind the scenes of the defining corporate drama of the decade. With groundbreaking reporting, they reveal the untold story behind the unsuccessful attempt to take over Chrysler by its biggest shareholder, the reclusive billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, and its legendary retired, Lee Iacocca.

Their startling grab for the smallest of Detroit's Big Three automakers sparked secret talks between Chrysler and Daimler on a massive joint venture. It was hailed as a historic "merger of equals", but the euphoria evaporated amid a clash of cultures, identities, and personalities. The action moves feverishly around the world with larger-than-life characters in the high-stakes arena of international automaking.

Barney Larrick, Fitzgeralds' operations manager: Well, after I got done chopping their heads off we made money. Cut the miles down. Sell off the properties. Pull the company down. They don't take the service out, they just cut it back. They'll take and cut it from 10 minutes to 12 minutes, from 12 to 15, from 15 to 20, from 20 to So they reduce the service.

And every time you reduce the service you make it less attractive. And the less attractive the fewer riders. National City Lines grew quickly. By it controlled public-transit systems in over 83 cities. From Baltimore to St. Louis, Salt Lake City to L. The appearance was always that this was only a company that was owned by the Fitzgeralds. You know, these people had come from Minnesota with no money at all, and all of a sudden they were in control of this multi-million-dollar enterprise.

Quinby Memo voice over: To the Mayor, to the City Manager, to the City Transit Engineer, and to the taxpayers and the riding citizens of your city. You are entitled to this warning: There is a carefully, deliberately planned campaign to swindle you out of your electric railway system Edwin Quinby was a rail buff with a talent for financial sleuthing. In , he mailed a warning to influential people in hundreds of cities across the country. His page broadside was filled with surprisingly detailed research. It brought to light what GM had worked hard to hide. Edwin Quinby voice over: The plan is to destroy public utilities, which you'll find impractical to replace after you discover your mistake.

Who are the corporations behind this? Why are they permitted to destroy valuable electric railways? Mass Transportation Magazine voice over: Queer Case of Quinby, by Ross Schram. Quinby took full advantage of the great American privilege of the free press to feed the lunatic fringe of radicals and crackpots springing up like weeds in the United States today. The document, printed on cheap paper, is natural fertilizer for suspicions, for disunity.

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What is the Quinby pattern? Was he used by some strange political influence? Edwin Quinby's efforts did not stop National City Lines, but the cat was out of the bag. Justice Memo voice over: Memorandum to the United States Attorney General: It appears that National City Lines and its manufacturing associates have entered into a plan to secure control over local transportation in important cities throughout the United States.


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If these companies are permitted to continue their program, they will soon have a stranglehold over the industry. The key lawyers involved in the case told me there was not a scintilla of doubt that these defendants, General Motors and the others, had set out to destroy the streetcar system. And that's what they did. The government's case was straight forward. National City Lines, General Motors and the other defendants were found guilty of conspiracy to monopolize the local transportation field.

Taken for a Ride - How General Motors (GM) Conspired to Destroy Rail Trolley Systems

The Justice Department would spend the next 25 years trying to limit GM's influence on transportation. It would begin three major investigations into monopoly practices: An effective way to rein in GM was never found.


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The film was produced by New Day Films. The director, James Klein, can be contacted at Dayton St.

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Effects of the 2008–10 automotive industry crisis on the United States

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Taken for a Ride

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