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BBC Documentary - Das Auto: The Germans, Their Cars and Us
August 5, 2013 2:07 PM   Subscribe

Das Auto - the British Obsession with Germany and it's industrial Power continues (recent MeFi Discussion here) - while Top Gear tries to show with a Tribute that British Car Manufacturing is still alive and kicking.
posted by homodigitalis (10 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
I watched both. I thought Das Auto was sort of interesting, as an American who knows a little bit about British cars but not much of the surrounding history, but I'm not sure I want to see the rest of the series. Top Gear was it's usual self, overblown and under plotted. The tribute was mildly interesting but once Clarkson starts to sing Rule Britannia towards the end, it gets a bit thick. Top Gear seems like they might be running out of things to do.
posted by doctor_negative at 2:30 PM on August 5, 2013


@ doctor_negative Especially Clarkson seems to be stuck in an eternal British 1950's Mindbubble - but now in HD and fancy Cinematography.
posted by homodigitalis at 2:37 PM on August 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Huh -- Britain's automotive industry sure took off when they sold it to Germany and India and whathaveyou.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:14 PM on August 5, 2013


Lucas Electrics lives on!
posted by basicchannel at 3:45 PM on August 5, 2013


Sys Rq: With that montage Top Gear managed to prove that the problem with the British auto industry wasn't British workers (happily employed in the successful factories they showed) or British labour laws (which the factories were operating under) but rather British management and ownership. I don't think they meant to create a subtle but powerful indictment of how an incompetent elite had sold British industry abroad for want of vision and competence, but that's kind of what they did.
posted by Grimgrin at 4:38 PM on August 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


I would really encourage people to search for and watch the Clarkson's Car Years episode from 2000, titled "Who Killed The British Car Industry?" It doesn't go the way you'd think, given Clarkson's conservatism, and covers some aspects of the industry's collapse that are really interesting.
posted by sonascope at 4:42 PM on August 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here's one link to the Clarkson piece. These tend not to last, so watch it quick.
posted by sonascope at 4:52 PM on August 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd narrow it further, and say the problem is 1960's through 1980's British management practices. The attitudes of the era - on both sides of the management/labor divide - were incredibly toxic to, well, companies being run properly.
posted by Punkey at 10:35 PM on August 5, 2013


Das Auto was very reevealing of the British mindset, in that for a programme that was supposed to be all about the German car and its successes, it was much more about the British car industry and its failures...
posted by MartinWisse at 1:04 AM on August 6, 2013


Punkey: "I'd narrow it further, and say the problem is 1960's through 1980's British management practices. The attitudes of the era - on both sides of the management/labor divide - were incredibly toxic to, well, companies being run properly"

Towards the end of WWII, Keynes expressed a similar concern about British Management:

If by some sad geographical slip the American Air Force (it is too late now to hope for much from the enemy) were to destroy every factory on the North East coast and in Lancashire (at an hour when the directors were sitting there and no-one else) we should have nothing to fear. How else are we to regain the exuberant inexperience which is necessary, it seems for success, I cannot surmise
posted by Jakey at 1:31 AM on August 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


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