Fact is GM, Ford and Chrysler were never pushed legislatively via regulations to do better, so they slept in class. When American's suddenly realized that gas was actually expensive, and wanted a car that went longer than 5 miles a gallon, then they could not find many, if any GM, Ford or Chrysler cars that fit that bill. THAT is why they started to fail..
Wrong wrong and more wrong.There was a lot less money to put into the cars. It was only much later, when the industry in the US was facing collapse, that unions started making concessions.
Unions are nothing but an excuse for lax and stupid management. Fact is unions in France and Germany are far worse than American unions (car industry wise), and yet they have managed to keep up with increased tougher regulations. Japan as well. And that is because their management actually invested in R&D to make sure that they could meet the regulations.
Fact is, that US emission standard did not change from the late 1970s till Obama forced through new regulations... that is 30 years where the direct competition to the US car companies world wide made more and more efficient and cleaner engines to meet strict regulations in Europe and Japan.
The irony is, that GM has an European car company (Opel) who had to meet the regulations and does, but GM did not transfer the tech to the US until it was too late.. there was no reason too.. Pathetic, and then they blame the unions for their own stupid management.