Imagine that your home market is a large country whose energy policy can be summed up in two words: "cheap gasoline." Would your vehicles reflect that?
Then suppose that your government tried to regulate fuel economy amid this sea of cheap gasoline, and the regulations established a high fuel economy standard for one type of vehicle (say "cars"), and a very low standard for another (for example, "trucks").
Would your fleet reflect that?
Then imagine that your foreign competitors received huge subsidies to build greenfield plants in America to augment their imports to the United States. They have no retirees to take care of, and you have millions in the only major country where employers have to provide health care benefits.
Then imagine that your home country's financial system collapsed under essentially a huge pyramid scheme by banks and investors, drying up credit and sending the nation into a deep recession.
Can we acknowledge that many of the problems of the Detroit 3 were not entirely their fault? Let's look at one main criticism: Detroit stupidly became reliant on gas-guzzling SUVs and pickup trucks.
Well, that's true. But the Detroit 3 didn't lead us to SUVs. The consumer, driven by cheap fuel and corporate average fuel economy regulations, pulled them there. In the early 1990s, after a huge investment in mid-sized cars, General Motors scrambled to convert car plants to truck plants to catch up to the American consumer.
In those days, Toyota, Nissan, Honda and other competitors found themselves with inferior or no SUVs. But they did just fine in America with cars that worked for them elsewhere around the world.
Meanwhile, they developed lots of trucks themselves. Alas, Toyota and Nissan developed huge pickup trucks and SUVs just at the end of the truck party and built huge Southern plants to make lots of them. Even Japanese automakers can make mistakes. But it's a rounding error for Toyota, not core as it was for the North American automakers.
Certainly, Detroit should not have battled increases in fuel economy regulation. And GM's creation of the Hummer brand was almost criminal in its shortsightedness.