Detroit automakers' market share is shrinking even faster than Micheline Maynard of the New York Times predicted three years ago in her book, "The End of Detroit: How the Big Three Lost Their Grip on the American Car Market" (Random House, 2003), which chronicled the decline of the Big Three auto companies and the rise in influence of foreign automakers, specifically Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai and BMW.
(Photo by Fabrizio Costantini, New York Times)
"We're getting close to Detroit having half and overseas manufacturers having half; it reflects a real change in the buying habits of the American consumer," she says. "If you drive around this area you notice car buyers in this region are very loyal, but once you get past Toledo, it's a completely different car market."
Maynard, Detroit bureau chief for the Times, will address "What the Auto Industry Says About America" in the 2006 Graham Hovey Lecture at 4:30 p.m. September 15 at Wallace House, 620 Oxford Road.
During her Knight-Wallace Fellowship at Michigan in 1999-2000, Maynard studied corporate culture and the cult of personality.
Among suggestions for Detroit automakers, Maynard says, "One issue is to be very clear what they are and what they offer consumers. GM and Ford still have a one size fits all mentality; today consumers have a tremendous amount of choice."
She says the current trend for auto companies to talk about alliances with other automakers reveals that companies recognize a need to offer a wider range of products, to broaden their appeal. Before joining The Times, Maynard was a staff writer with USA Today, Newsday, U.S. News & World Report, and the Reuters News Service. She began her career as a legislative correspondent for United Press International in Lansing and served as an intern in the White House Press Office during the Carter Administration.
Maynard has written two other books: "Collision Course: Inside the Battle for General Motors" (1995) and "The Global Manufacturing Vanguard" (1998). She is at work on her fourth book, which will look at the impact of foreign companies' investments in the United States.
The lecture is named for a previous director of the Knight-Wallace Fellows program and honors alumni whose subsequent careers show the benefits of sabbatical studies at U-M. The lecture is open to the public. A reception, hosted by Provost Teresa Sullivan and Rackham Graduate School Dean Janet Weiss will follow.
For more information and to RSVP, call (734) 998-7666.