One of the Big Three Detroit-based vehicle manufacturers is turning to a best-selling book author, Steven Levitt, for advice on how to turn the company around.

Levitt is co-author of 'Freakonomics' a popular read that looks at how conventional wisdom can be turned on its head by analysing data in different and sometimes unusal ways.

Levitt told the Detroit News that he is consulting with one of the major Detroit automakers but would not confirm which one. He said that a 'visionary leader' had called him several months ago to say that he had enjoyed the book and wondered if he could help his company.

Levitt and his team reportedly spent a day at the company.

"We're looking at issues related to healthcare, we're looking at productivity in plants, we've talked about marketing, websites. ... We're just ... seeing if there's anything that we can say that can be of use, and anything that we can learn by looking at the data differently that will help them," said Levitt.

Freakonomics contains sometimes controversial analysis on topics such as the relationship between abortion law and crime in New York, and how parents are more likely to be late to pick up their children from day care when late charges are imposed.