Wednesday June 3, 2009

Auto Historian on CNN International

CNN International interviewed University of Dayton professor and auto historian John Heitmann in Berlin May 29 about the future of General Motors' European brand, European politics and labor issues.

CNN International interviewed University of Dayton professor and auto historian John Heitmann in Berlin May 29 about the future of General Motors' European brand, European politics and labor issues.

Heitmann is currently co-leading a study abroad trip in Germany with 16 engineering students learning about the German automobile manufacturing industry.

CNN correspondent Diana Magnay used the taped interview twice on Friday in her reporting, and her colleague Frederik Pleitgen planned to use parts of it again on Monday. Magnay said she anticipates using the interview in the future for other stories about the automobile industry crisis.

Follow the link at right to watch the video.

Here is what Heitmann told CNN International:

"One of the big issues related to bankruptcy or insolvency is, 'Will consumers buy automobiles being made by companies now going through reorganization?' And that's a really serious question, and we don't know how that's going to play out. We don't know whether consumers will actually go to Chrysler dealerships, will go to General Motors dealerships, and actually buy cars that may well not be produced in the near future, or where there may be shortages of parts."

Heitmann's new book, The Automobile and American Life, looks at how the automobile transformed American culture, business, life on the farm and in the city, leisure time and the arts.

He has been interviewed by ABC World News Tonight, BBC Radio, Fox News, BusinessWeek, the Associated Press, Maclean's (Canada), National Review, The Christian Science Monitor and many other U.S. and international media for his perspective on the U.S. auto industry and the current crisis.

For more of Heitmann's commentary, visit his The Automobile and American Life blog.