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Chapter 5 Discussion Questions

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1) What was the state of the auto industry prior to WWII/during the Great Depression? What ramifications did the war have on both U.S. and foreign auto makers? Why was the U.S. auto industry able to see a boom in sales in the post-war period?

2) What were some of the key technological advancements in the auto industry in the ‘50s? Did the companies that initially created these advancements enjoy a competitive advantage over their rivals in this timeframe?

3) What trends were emulated in cars produced in the ‘60s? How does this explain the poor performance of cars fitted with ever increasingly sophisticated V-8 engines? How was the success of the Mustang defiant to this trend?


  1. hochstadtd18

    I was a co-author on these questions.

    May 3, 2016
  2. Thanks.

    We discussed the collapse of Welfare Capitalism briefly. As to 1950s technology, there was less that was new and more than was higher adoption. So air condition and automatic transmissions weren’t unknown, but they were refined a bit and become pervasive. I think car radios were also common, but became universal. In general though it was an era of incremental changes, small but with a cumulative impact on productivity with (as per Thomas Klier) a rise in plant-level output and economies of scale. Of course that wasn’t particularly visible if your focus was on cars themselves, what consumers saw.

    May 7, 2016

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