GM spied on a gadfly and got caught. It was the ’60s, and it changed the auto industry forever.
When consumer advocate Ralph Nader began hounding Detroit to produce safer cars, the world’s largest corporation took affront and went snooping. Its chairman, James Roche, had to apologize in the U.S. Senate chambers. Ralph Nader’s rise from obscure author to agent of change may have been solidified in that moment. And the manufacture of automobiles transitioned from a nearly unregulated industry to an intense object of safety and environmental standards. We follow this trail with veteran auto writer Dave Smith and Kenneth Whyte, author of the book. “The Sack of Detroit: General Motors and the End of American Enterprise.”