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Economic Perspectives, 33, 2nd, 2009
From Tail Fins to Hybrids: How Detroit Lost Its Dominance
From the mid-1950s through 2008, the Detroit automakers, once dubbed the “Big Three”—Chrysler LLC, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors Corporation (GM)—lost over 40 percentage points of market share in the United States, after having dominated the industry during its first 50 years. From today’s perspective, the elaborately designed tail fins that once adorned the Detroit automakers’ luxury marques symbolized the pinnacle of their market power. Fifty years later, the Detroit automakers were playing catch-up to compete with Toyota’s very successful entry into the hybrid car segment, the Prius.


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