A powerful force in a century of change
Peter Brown, Editorial Director
GM created or added to overwhelming forces that formed the modern world: consumer credit, product design, even the structure of the modern corporation. A hundred years after its founding, GM continues to drive change into the 21st century, even as it responds to a stunningly global economy.
Those 100 years produced some great stories. How General Motors Changed the World, this special issue of Automotive News, tells 100 of those yarns, focusing on the people who made things happen. It's our unique privilege that we know many of the GM folks of the second half of the automaker's century. Those people were generous in sharing their own histories as they became part of the GM story.
This book has 100 stories. Ninety-four of them are about the past and the present, and six are about GM's future. We've selected 25 as "Pivot Points," critical events and decisions that changed the direction of the company — and, in some cases, of America and the world.
In the middle of those 100 stories is a special section that we produced with our sister publication Advertising Age. That section examines a century of GM marketing.
Scores of people contributed to this book. We owe thanks to Larry Gustin and William Pelfrey, historians whose obsession with and deep knowledge of General Motors helped guide us in selecting the stories. For a year and a half, Mary Beth Vander Schaaf has expertly shepherded reporters and editors of Automotive News to take a thoughtful look at the past and future of an American icon.
For those of us who normally work on the breaking news, this deep, long look into a century of innovation, prosperity and struggle has been thrilling. We have tried to create a one-of-a-kind collection of stories that captures an era and portrays a unique American institution.
You can reach Peter Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.