The Tucker is the story of the unique car that Preston Tucker tried to bring to the American public. The Tucker was an innovative new car design in the late 1940s, with an emphasis on safety and performance features. But Preston Tucker's dream was never to reach fruition. Plagued by production problems and, more importantly, investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Tucker's car never made it to the consumer market. Although he was found innocent of any wrongdoing and cleared by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the delays and negative publicity forced his company to fold. There is speculation that Preston Tucker was the victim of sabotage, possibly by the other large automobile manufacturers who did not want to see Tucker's innovative new car on the market.
(This letter appeared in many newspapers in the United States on June 15, 1948.)
An Open Letter to The Automobile Industry In The Interests Of The American Motorist By Preston Tucker, President, Tucker Corp.
As you know, we are building a completely new motorcar--the rear engine Tucker. Being new-comers in the field we have had to start from scratch and work harder and faster than most of you. For example, instead of the 20 months you usually take to produce a new model of conventional design, my engineers have taken less than 10 to perfect a car which I firmly believe opens a new era in motoring.
In this same year, we have completed a nationwide dealer organization, acquired the largest most modern automotive plant in tile world, and cleared the decks for mass production. These things have been done - and well done - in spite of persistent and unfair opposition from within the automobile industry.
Please don't misunderstand me. Many of you have gone out of your way to be friendly to the Tucker Corporation. It's true, some of you have not shared our conviction that a rear-engine car is the car of the future, but you have been willing to let the American motorist judge that for himself, in the firm belief that what's best for the motorist is best for you in the long run.
But there is another group-a very powerful group - which for two years has carried on a carefully organized campaign to prevent the motoring public from ever getting their hands on the wheel of a Tucker.
These people have tried to introduce spies into our plant. They have endeavored to bribe and corrupt loyal Tucker employees. Such curiosity about what goes on in the Tucker plant should be highly flattering, I suppose. But they haven't stopped there.
They even have their spokesmen in high places in Washington. As a direct result of their influence, Tucker dealers all over the country - men of character and standing in their communities - have been harassed and grilled by agents of the government and Congressional Investigating Committees.
My associates and myself and the Tucker Corporation have been investigated and investigated, time and again. Millions of dollars of the taxpayers money have been squandered in an utterly fruitless effort to kill the Tucker, to bar us from needed raw materials, to keep us so busy defending ourselves and our efforts that the motoring public would tire of waiting for a completely new rear-engine car. But they haven't been able to stop us.
You know, perhaps, that our bid on a government owned steel plant in Cleveland was recently refused. Let me tell you the inside story of that; Sealed bids were called for, in accordance with law. Only two were submitted, one by the steel company operating the plant, the other by the Tucker Corporation. The bids were opened nearly five months ago. The Tucker Corporation's bid was high. If Tucker's bid had been accepted, it could have given taxpayers as much as four million dollars more for the plant than the steel company offered.
This plant would provide ample raw materials for volume production of the Tucker and would serve numerous small businesses now starving for steel.
You would think our high bid for the plant would have been accepted long ago. For five months political pressure, ruthless and barefaced, has forced delay after delay. We're still waiting. We don't know who is responsible for this. But who do you suppose is getting the raw material from this plant we want for Tucker and small business? None other than some well known - and unfriendly - automotive manufacturers.
Most of the political pressure and investigations we have had to face these last two years can be traced back to one influential individual who is out to "get Tucker". If he acts from honest conviction in his efforts to prolong the motorcar, then I hope he will have the courage to tell the public just that.
But personally we believe he has more obvious motives. Evidence in Tucker files, for example shows the controlling interest in a large sales agency of an automotive corporate subsidiary is in his wife's name. And when he gave an elaborate party at a Washington hotel a few months ago, who do you suppose paid the bill? None other than an official of an automobile manufacturer--a manufacturer distinctly unfriendly to the Tucker Corporation. Is all this, too, just coincidence?
Now once more we are being investigated. Just at the time we are getting into production on a car that has won the hearts of the million motorists who have seen it, just when the job of making automobiles demands all our time and energy, my associates and I are asked to take time out again and again ever since we had the temerity to suggest America is eager for a completely new car.
What would you think in our place? Would you say it was just coincidence - or would you think it was planned that way.
You wonder, perhaps, why I have made these statements in an open letter. Here's why; As President of Tucker Corporation, I'm responsible to 1,872 Tucker dealers and distributors and nearly 50,000 Tucker stockholders. These people have put $25,000,000 into the Tucker Corporation. And I am going to protect their interests.
In addition, we have promised American motorists a completely new rear-engine motorcar, and hundreds of thousands have written us that they are ready and waiting to buy it. Every day letters come to us from people who know that in fighting to put the rear-engine Tucker on the road we are, at the same time, fighting for their right as motorists to get the finest engineering American ingenuity can produce.
We are going to justify the support these motorists so generously have given us. We are going to give them the car they want at a price they can afford, and without paying tribute to the Black Market. How this will be done will be announced today.
But in the meantime, I want to register the fact that we have just begun to fight. We have been patient so far, but our patience is wearing thin. We can give names, dates and places to prove our charges of unfair competition, and if necessary we will do it.
When the day comes that anyone can bend our country's laws and lawmakers to serve selfish, competitive ends, that day democratic government dies. And we're just optimistic enough to believe that once the facts are on the table, American public opinion will walk in with a big stick.
"People of the same trade seldom meet together but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public or in some diversion to raise prices and extinguish competition. Many capitalists will gather to destroy one, and one capitalist always ends up destroying many. Along with the constantly diminishing number of magnates of capital grows the mass of misery, oppression, slavery, degradation, and exploitation until the monopoly of capital become a fetter upon the mode of production."
"Here comes the central figure of the capitalist system: the entrepreneur. He glows in the somber company of laborers, managers, executives and bureaucrats; he carries no burden of Marxian guilt. He challenges the established monopolistic equilibrium with a new product, a new process or a new type of productive organization. The tendency then is to a new equilibrium--a new stability in the circular flow. This new equilibrium will inevitably be disturbed and broken by the next innovator, the next change in the productive process. And so economic life continues to enlarge. But innovation, the contribution of the entrepreneur to the resource market, is best financed, encouraged and rewarded when the innovator is free from the threat of imitation and competition, and such freedom is only possible given the power and control of a monopoly."
Explain Tucker in terms of economics and the theory of the firm. How would the director of the film respond to each of the quotations above? Which would Tucker himself probably agree with? How would each of the authors feel about the movie? Which author would you agree with? Why?
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