Wheels by Arthur Hailey: A Novel about the Automobile Industry
Wheels is a 1971 novel by Arthur Hailey, a bestselling author known for his realistic and well-researched stories about various industries and professions. Wheels follows the lives and challenges of several characters involved in the American automobile industry, from the executives and engineers to the workers and dealers. The novel explores the topical issues of the 1970s, such as race relations, corporate politics, business ethics, environmental concerns, consumer rights, and labor unions.
The main plot revolves around the development and launch of a new car model called the Hawk, which is supposed to be a revolutionary and innovative product that will boost the sales and reputation of Trans-United Motors (TUM), one of the leading car manufacturers in the country. However, the Hawk project faces many obstacles and setbacks, such as technical glitches, design flaws, sabotage, industrial espionage, and public relations disasters. The novel also depicts the personal and professional struggles of the characters, such as their ambitions, conflicts, romances, betrayals, and tragedies.
Wheels is a gripping and informative novel that offers a behind-the-scenes look at the automobile industry and its impact on society. It is also a compelling portrait of human nature and its strengths and weaknesses. Wheels is a classic example of Arthur Hailey's skillful storytelling and meticulous research.Some of the main characters in Wheels are:
Adam Trenton: The vice president of project development at Trans-United Motors (TUM), a fictional car company based on American Motors Corporation (AMC). He is the driving force behind the Hawk project, a new car model that he hopes will revolutionize the industry and save TUM from bankruptcy. He is married to Erica, a successful interior designer, but their relationship is strained by his workaholic tendencies and her affair with a younger man.
Erica Trenton: Adam's wife and a renowned interior designer. She is unhappy with her marriage and feels neglected by Adam, who is always busy with his work. She starts an affair with Kirk, Adam's son from his first marriage, who is a rebellious and troubled young man.
Smokey Stevenson: The president of TUM and Adam's boss. He is a charismatic and ruthless leader who has a vision for the future of the company. He is also involved in a secret deal with a Japanese car company that could jeopardize the Hawk project and TUM's independence.
Barbara Lipton: A young and ambitious journalist who works for a car magazine. She is assigned to cover the Hawk project and gets access to TUM's facilities and personnel. She develops a romantic interest in Adam and becomes his confidante and ally.
Matt Zaleski: The chief engineer of the Hawk project and Adam's friend. He is a brilliant and dedicated engineer who oversees the technical aspects of the new car model. He is also a union activist who fights for the rights and safety of the workers.
Lowell Baxter: The chairman of the board of directors of TUM and Smokey's rival. He is a conservative and cautious businessman who opposes Smokey's risky and aggressive strategies. He tries to undermine Smokey's authority and sabotage the Hawk project.
Rusty Horton: The head of security at TUM and Smokey's loyal henchman. He is a former FBI agent who uses his skills and connections to spy on TUM's competitors and enemies. He is also involved in illegal activities such as blackmail, bribery, and murder.
Ursula: A beautiful and mysterious woman who works as a spy for a foreign car company. She seduces Matt Zaleski and steals confidential information about the Hawk project. She also has a personal vendetta against Smokey Stevenson, who ruined her father's career.
These are just some of the characters who populate Wheels, a novel that depicts the drama and intrigue of the automobile industry in the 1970s. aa16f39245