End of the Road by Chris Brady, Andrew Lorenz. An account of the ill-fated takeover of Rover by BMW Plenty of things went wrong, but they identify several main factors. At first BMW were too hands-off, making few changes. When things kept going wrong and their leadership changed, they then lurched in the opposite direction, putting their own managers in charge, losing knowledge. But the biggest factor was the strength of the pound, which rose sharply crippling Rover's ability to export. BMW leaders reckon that they might have dealt with either factor alone, but not together.
Another possibility that might have saved Rover was moving BMW production, possibly of a new and smaller model, to Longbridge, but they were reluctant.
By this account, the BMW executives come across as over-sensitive: if anything worrying too much about UK public opinion about laying off staff. The unions also come out of it well. However the book's very critical of Peter Mandelson and Stephen Byers as industry secretaries, portraying them as out of touch, badly informed, and sending the wrong signals.
The book also strongly implies that the initially proposed deal with the "Alchemy" finance company might well have proven better in the long run: they planned to greatly scale back production but still keep building and selling MGs. The government however backed the "Phoenix" consortium, with a somewhat implausible plan to keep large-scale production going without major layoffs.
The book ends in 2001, but as they hinted the Phoenix plan failed and the company collapsed entirely.
The book's adequately written in a, well, businesslike manner. Fairly interesting.
Going to visit the parents for a few days from Saturday, may not be posting much.
Socioeconomics. Women's 'double shift' of work and domestic duties a myth (Long PDF). Overweight adolescents and risky sexual behaviour. German brands: Aldi, Fanta.
Random. Colour flip.
Articles. Long fascinating article on South African prison gangs (via). How to be like Tarzan. US Politics: The Pseudo-conservative revolt (via).
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