OPEC begins oil embargo, ushering in the oil shortage and teaching Americans to fear (temporarily) fuel consumption.
December 1975 - As Japanese cars become the rage, Toyota overtakes Volkswagen as the top import brand in the United States.
April 1978 - Volkswagen, which had been importing cars to America since 1949, opens a U.S. factory in Westmoreland, Pa., 35 miles south of Pittsburgh, to build Rabbits.
1981 - Imports of small-engine Japanese cars soar while the U.S. industry languishes in recession. Facing thorny trade relations with Washington, the Japanese government agrees to limit exports to the United States. The move leads to shortages of many Japanese models.
November 1982 - After 20 years in the automobile business, Honda opens a U.S. factory in Marysville, Ohio, to build the Accord.
December 1982 - The Trough: Annual U.S. vehicle production hits a 20-year low at 6.9 million vehicles. Some 200,000 U.S. autoworkers are on layoff.
April 1983 - Amid falling sales, VW scraps a plan to turn an old military factory in Sterling Heights, Mich., into its second U.S. car plant. It sells the building to Chrysler.
June 1983 - Nissan opens a pickup truck factory in Smyrna, Tenn.
February 1984 - GM and Toyota jointly reopen a shuttered GM factory in Fremont, Calif., to build small cars now badged as the Toyota Corolla and Chevrolet Prizm. Outcries from Chrysler force the Federal Trade Commission to limit production at the NUMMI venture.
March 1985 - Nissan adds a car line to the Smyrna plant to make Sentras.
September 1985 - As Honda's Ohio workers build the last 1985-model Accord, the remodeled 1986 Accord is launched without closing the factory for retooling or missing a day of production.
December 1986 - Import sales peak at 4.2 million.
September 1987 - Under the guiding input of its 25 percent stakeholder (Ford), Mazda opens a factory south of Detroit in Flat Rock, Mich. Production at Mazda Motor Manufacturing (U.S.A.) Corp. will be Ford Probes and Mazda MX-6s and 626s.
July 1988 - Nearly six years after its small competitor Honda, Toyota opens its first wholly owned U.S. car plant in Georgetown, Ky., to produce the Camry.
September 1988 - Mitsubishi and Chrysler jointly open Diamond-Star Motors Corp., a small-car venture in Normal, Ill. Over the next decade, products will include Mitsubishi's Galant, Eclipse, Spyder and Mirage; the Plymouth Laser; the Eagle Summit and Talon; the Chrysler Sebring; and the Dodge Avenger.
1988 - Plagued by falling sales and poor labor relations, VW closes its Pennsylvania plant, vowing to use Mexico as its future North American production base.
1989 - NUMMI adds a Toyota-only pickup truck line.
July 1989 - An 18-month UAW campaign to organize Nissan's Smyrna plant fails when workers vote by a 2-to-1 ratio to remain 'union-free.'
September 1989 - Subaru-Isuzu Automotive Inc., a joint venture in Lafayette, Ind., begins production of the Subaru Legacy and Isuzu pickup.
December 1989 - Honda launches its second U.S. factory, in East Liberty, Ohio, to build Civics and more Accords.
May 1990 - SIA adds production of the Isuzu Rodeo.
January 1991 - Honda introduces an Accord wagon, designed, engineered and manufactured in the United States.
October 1991 - Mitsubishi buys Chrysler's 50 percent stake in Diamond-Star Motors, promising Chrysler 50 percent of the output.
June 1992 - Over protests from some U.S. industry representatives, Nissan begins producing a new family sedan, the Altima, in Smyrna.
July 1992 - Ford buys a one-half interest in Mazda's Flat Rock plant, changing the name to Auto Alliance International.
January 1993 - VW hints that it wants another U.S. factory, even though it has spent more than $1 billion to shift North American production to Puebla, Mexico.
April 1993 - Sour sales at Subaru spark false industry reports that its 51 percent stake in SIA is for sale.
November 1993 - SIA begins building a version of the Rodeo for the truckless American Honda Motor Co., called the Honda Passport.
September 1994 - Toyota begins production of the largest car in its fleet, the Avalon, in Georgetown, doubling the plant's capacity.
September 1994 - BMW opens a factory in Spartanburg County, S.C., to build its new Z3 roadster. The site was chosen from a list of more than 250 worldwide.
December 1994 - U.S. auto plants outproduce Japan's for the first time since 1979.
May 1995 - Toyota says it will build full-sized pickup trucks near Evansville, Ind., starting in 1999.
June 1995 - SIA starts producing the Subaru Outback, a Legacy-based wagon with many sport-utility features.
December 1995 - For the first time, Japanese automakers sell more U.S.-built vehicles than imports.
February 1996 - Honda's new Acura CL coupe becomes the first luxury import-nameplate vehicle to be designed, engineered and manufactured in the United States. It is built at East Liberty, Ohio.
April 1996 - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sues Mitsubishi for alleged sexual harassment of female workers at its Illinois factory.
February 1997 - Mercedes-Benz opens its first non-German plant in Vance, Ala., to produce ML320 sport-utilities. Mercedes wants the operation to pump new ideas into the company.
May 1997 - J.D. Power puts Ford's Atlanta plant and Honda's Marysville plant in a tie as the two highest-quality auto factories in the world.
October 1997 - SIA studies a plant expansion as sales of the Outback continue to increase.
August 1997 - With a little manufacturing help from Chrysler, Toyota builds its first Sienna minivan at Georgetown.
September 1997 - BMW says it will build a sport-activity vehicle at its South Carolina plant.
December 1997 - U.S. consumer demand for the Alabama M class causes Mercedes to begin an expansion of its U.S. factory.
January 1998 - Volvo pegs 1998-2000 sales growth to U.S. factory.
January 1998 - Chrysler extends its plan to continue sourcing Mitsubishi-built cars from Illinois.
February 1998 - VW says its decision on a new U.S. plant will come by 2000.
March 1998 - AutoAlliance begins building the Mercury Cougar.