Jul 3, 2019

Lee Iacocca, father of the Mustang and the minivan, has died

Lee Iacocca. Photo: Taro Yamasaki/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images

Lee Iacocca, the cigar-chomping auto industry icon who invented the Ford Mustang and later saved Chrysler from bankruptcy, has died. He was 94.

Why it matters: The hard-charging Iacocca was the United States' most famous CEO and corporate pitchman in the 1980s, fiercely competitive and a symbol of the American auto industry's triumphs and challenges, Automotive News writes in a comprehensive obituary.

  • In the early '80s, Iacocca ranked behind only President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II in a Gallup-poll list of the world’s most respected men, according to the Washington Post, and his self-titled 1984 memoir was a best-seller for 38 weeks.

Iacocca's salesmanship was legendary: "If you can find a better car, buy it" and "Buy a car, get a check."

His big gamble at Ford — bringing the low-priced but sleekly styled Mustang "pony car" to market in 1964 — was a smash that put his career on the fast track.

  • He was famously fired by Henry Ford II in 1979, but then scooped up almost immediately by Chrysler, which was in desperate need of a turnaround.
  • In 1980 he persuaded Congress to approve federal loan guarantees of $1.5 billion, then restored Chrysler profitability and paid the money back 7 years early — with interest.
  • Along the way, he hit another home run — the family hauling minivan.

The cause of his death on Tuesday was complications from Parkinson’s disease, his daughter Lia Iacocca Assad told WashPost.

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  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 347, 003 — Total deaths: 10,335 — Total recoveries: 18,953Map.
  3. 2020 update: Wisconsin governor issues executive order to delay in-person primary voting until June.
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  5. States' latest: West coast states send ventilators to New York and other states experiencing a more immediate need — Data suggests coronavirus curve may be flattening in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
  6. Jobs latest: Unemployment could already be at 13% "and moving higher," per former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.
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Wisconsin governor issues order to delay in-person primary voting until June

Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) issued an executive order Monday delaying in-person voting for the state's primary election — currently scheduled for Tuesday — until June 9.

Why it matters: Wisconsin was slated to be the only state to vote on Tuesday amid the coronavirus pandemic, despite having a stay-at-home order in place.

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll reaches 10,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the novel coronavirus surpassed 10,000 in the U.S. on Monday, per Johns Hopkins data. More than 1,000 people in the U.S. have died of coronavirus-related conditions each day since April 1.

Why it matters: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Sunday the coming week will be "the hardest and saddest week of most Americans' lives" — calling it our "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."

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