Appendix A: My Years with General Motors [Part 1]

Purpose: To demonstrate how an entrepreneur building a company from the ground up needs to be ever conscious of the importance financial aspects.

by Alfred P. Sloan, Jr.

Questions from Reading Selected Chapters

(Each student will be prepared to discuss the answers to each of the following questions in class.)


Chapter 1: The Great Opportunity – 1


1.      Complete the following sentence: “Both Mr. Durant and Mr. ford had unusual ________, _________, ________, __________, and __________.”


2.      In what ways were Mr. Ford and Mr. Durant different?


3.      What was Mr. Durant’s weakness?


4.      Between 1908 and 1910 how many companies did Mr. Durant bring together?


5.      Mr. Durant expected economies in what areas?


6.      What three simultaneous patterns emerged from Mr. Durant’s operations?


7.      What was the result of Mr. Durant’s wheeler-dealing?


8.      What was the significance of the two investment banking groups headed by James J. Storrow and Albert Strauss in 1910?


9.      Who was president of General Motors in 1915 and what was his contribution?\


10.  Who became head of the Buick division in 1912?


11.  What stunning event happened in 1915 regarding the stockholders?


12.  What car company was created in 1911 that would have an impact on GM?


13.  How did du Pont come to be involved with GM?


14.  How did Mr. Durant regain control in 1916?


15.  What happened to Mr. Nash?


16.  What were the five points in favor of the investment in GM summarized by Mr. Raskob?


17.  What percent of GM did du Pont own as of 1917?


18.  What became du Pont’s roll in GM?


19.  GM acquired what car company in 1918?


20.  Complete this sentence: “On occasion, when out in the field, he would make _____ _____ to get something started, and this sometimes caused ______ _______ in the general office.”


21.  What caused “the crisis from which the modern General Motors Corporation would emerge?”


Chapter 2: The Great Opportunity – II


1.      Complete the following sentence: “I think we have all had in common a capability for being ___________ to our respective interests.”


2.      How did Sloan come to be the general manager of the Hyatt Roller Bearing Company?


3.      Complete the following: “It was difficult to get ________, and when we got it and ________, we needed ________ _______ that we could not get outside the company.”


4.      Complete the following: “Our _______ became so good that it got to be a question of how rapidly we could expand our _______, with new _________, new machinery, new _______, and the like, to keep up with the rapidly expanding ____________ business.”


5.      Who was responsible for bringing the technique of interchangeable parts into automobile manufacturing?


6.      How did Sloan get to be an executive at General Motors?


7.      When Sloan and Chrysler were rival heads of car companies what did they use to do together?


8.      Sloan says that he found Mr. Durant, a very persuasive man and what else?


9.      What were the three reasons that selling Hyatt’s business to General Motors seemed like a good idea?


10.  Sloan wanted how much for his company and eventually settled for how much?


11.  What was United Motors?


12.  Complete the following: “One day in 1919 I went in and told him that I thought that, in view of the large public interest in the corporation’s shares, we should have an ______ ____ by a _______ ________ ________.”


13.  Complete the following: “As to ________, we did not have adequate k_______ or ________ of the individual ________ _______.”


14.  Complete the following: “It was a case of _______ among the _______ for available _______ and of different ________ at the top.”


15.  Did the corporation have a philosophy of cutting requests or raising more funds to meet demands?


16.  Complete the following: “An effort was made to raise $_______, but only $________ was realized. This was the first signal from the outside financial environment that the corporation was ___ _________ ____ _______…”


17.  Complete the following “__________ followed the same runaway course as the overruns on ______ ___________.”


18.  In September of 1920 what happened to the automobile market in America?


19.  What happened to Mr. Durrant in November of 1920?