Lee Iacocca on "Following-the-Market"

Last Updated Apr 26, 2007 1:21 PM EDT

Earlier this week when Toyota passed GM to become the world's top automaker, it didn't surprise many people. Detroit's Big Three has been struggling for the past few years to make up the ground they've lost to foreign carmakers. 

In an interview with NPR, Lee Iacocca says the Big Three lost their dominance because they failed to "follow-the-market" the same way he did when he headed Chrysler during happier times in Detroit. In those days, Iacocca saw the demand from families who wanted larger vehicles, and he quickly jumped on the mini-van trend with much success. More recently, Toyota saw a similar opportunity with hybrid cars as gas prices started to surge. The Big Three, on the other hand, failed to react to the market and continued producing gas-guzzling SUVs. They've suffered ever since.

So where does Iacocca see the next opportunity? He says its plug in hybrids. You can listen to Iacocca's interview with NPR here.