This is a brilliant segment of This American Life in collaboration with Frank Langfitt and NPR news.
A car plant in Fremont California that might have saved the U.S. car industry. In 1984, General Motors and Toyota opened NUMMI as a joint venture. Toyota showed GM the secrets of its production system: How it made cars of much higher quality and much lower cost than GM achieved. Frank Langfitt explains why GM didn’t learn the lessons—until it was too late.
Wikipedia has a nice history of the NUMMI plant.