Twice in 20 years, the U.S. auto industry faced an invasion from across an ocean.
The Americans weathered the first attack - from the Europeans. European marques captured 9.6 percent of the car market in 1959. In 1963 it was 5 percent, and today, 37 years later, European-badged cars and trucks hold 5.9 percent of the U.S. market.
The second onslaught was by the Japanese. They became a major market force in the mid-1970s, and the Americans have been unable to do much about it. In 1980 Japan's share was 18.1 percent; today it is 23.5 percent of a market that is 52 percent larger.