The increased imports of the European as well as the Japanese make of automobiles in theUnited States significantly impacted the demand of the automobiles manufactured by theUSmanufacturers. “Imports of sub-compact cars from Europe and Japan rose steadily in the 1950s, often as families’ second cars but US manufacturers retained their hold on the lucrative markets for larger vehicles.” (French, 1997, p142)
The US manufactures saw their market shrink as the more aware and price conscious consumers shifted to the European and Japanese counter parts for their automobiles, while theUSmanufacturers were left with making large, excessive fuel consuming vehicles that denoted social status and personal style.
Aside from this the increasing prices of crude oil in the international market in the 1970s also significantly changed the demand of the automobiles as depicted by the consumers.
“A crisis in theUScar-market developed as a result of sudden unforeseen shifts in the general environment which allowed overseas producers to expand market share rapidly. New car sales faltered in the 1970s and excess capacity increased. At the same time the leap in fuel prices shifted the consumer preference towards smaller, more fuel efficient cars which Japanese and European makers already supplied in their domestic markets and were better able to produce that were the US manufacturers used to making larger, more up-market ‘gas-guzzlers’” (French, 1997, p142)