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Author chronicles the rebirth of the American auto industry

KIRO Radio's Bill Radke talks to Bill Vlasic, author of "Once Upon A Car." (AP Image)

The resurgence of the American auto industry is one of the few feel good economic story’s of the recent years. And in an interview with KIRO Radio’s Bill Radke, the author of a recent book about Detroit’s comeback says former Boeing commercial president Alan Mulally is the shining star.

“I think he will go down as one of the great leaders of the last many years in any industry,” says Bill Vlasic, author of “Once Upon A Car: The Fall and Resurrection of Detroit’s Big Three Automakers.

“The guy works more hours per day than just about anybody I’ve met, from five in the morning at Ford until night,” he said. “But beyond that, Alan is a tremendous leader.”

Vlasic says Mulally shattered the notion a Detroit outsider couldn’t succeed in the auto industry.

“Boy, was that ever wrong. And there’s something to be said for a guy who was 61-years-old, had been passed over at Boeing twice, never thought he’d get his shot to be a CEO and he was so ready when the opportunity came that he took full advantage of it.”

While Mulally navigated Ford through the nation’s financial crisis without a government bailout, GM and Chrysler weren’t so lucky. And Vlasic says despite criticisms from many, including GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, it’s the bailouts that have paid off with a revived industry.

“I think it’s proven well because right now, the American auto industry is a bright spot in the economy. People are buying cars.”

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