Automobile entrepreneur Preston Tucker excited the post-World War II public with his plan for a "car of the future," a vehicle that would retail for less than other autos but include cutting-edge features such as rear engine, fuel efficiency, and a padded dashboard. Despite consumer interest in the project, Tucker faced several setbacks including intense competition from the Big Three US car companies, fraud charges from the US Securities and Exchange Commission, and a short supply of post-war steel and an already crowded market. After manufacturing 51 vehicles, mostly by hand, his company went into receivership in 1950. In this case students examine the post-war economy, competitive dynamics and Tucker's business plan and financing to assess the causes of the failure as well as the strategies and resources needed to succeed in the auto industry in post-World War II America and today.
Case ID: 090320