Government Motors: Can a Reinvention Save GM?

You wouldn't assemble a car the way the White House auto team cobbled together deals to keep Chrysler and GM going. So why are taxpayers about to foot a $100 billion bill for a vehicle that might not run?

David Bowman for Time

Autoworkers at GM's Fairfax plant in Kansas City, Kans., are part of a new lower-cost labor deal.

Nearly 80 years ago, around the time a Kansas-born carmaker was putting his name on the newest, tallest, shiniest building in the world, a young auto mechanic named Morris Weinberg opened a repair shop on busy Brooklyn Avenue in Kansas City, Mo. As he modestly prospered, fixing and selling used cars, Weinberg dreamed that his son would enter the auto business. Not used cars, though — new cars. Sleek and powerful cars, like the ones built by Walter Chrysler's company. And that's how Steve Weinberg, with his father's savings to stake him, came to open a Dodge dealership in Grandview, Mo.,...

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