Arts Campus News

Book examines history of foreign-owned automotive sector

In 2018, nearly half of all vehicles made in North America were produced at foreign-owned plants and the industry was on target to dominate the market. Notwithstanding, the sector has been discounted compared to its domestic counterpart, both in popular memory and scholarship.

Timothy J. Minchin’s America’s Other Automakers offers up a new history of the foreign-owned auto industry, the first to comprehensively use archival sources and to articulate the human agency of participants, including industry recruiters, workers and managers.

Minchin confronts the perspective that the sector’s growth mainly reflected incentives, stressing human agency and the intricacy of individual stories instead. The book—deeply human in its approach—also investigates the sector’s effect on grassroots communities, showing that it had more expenses than supporters acknowledged.

America’s Other Automakers draws on a plethora of primary and secondary sources and exposes significant pressures over reports of discriminatory hiring, unionization and unease about the industry’s rapid growth, critically analyzing seven large assembly facilities and their effects on the communities in which they were constructed.