What an interesting post this has become. I didn't see any mention of unions in any of the posts. Just my opinion, but I personally believe unions had an impact on the American automotive industry. I think there was a time when they were good for the worker and were needed. I don't think they're needed so much any more. Companies realize now in our oh so litigious society, that they better take care of the workers or there will be plenty of lawyers ready to take on that class action suit against the company. Unions have no interest in the end user of the product being manufactured (The customer), and they create an "US" and "THEM" mentality between workers and company management.
As far as all the Japanese stuff. We'll stick with the brands we drive now, Lexus and Toyota. We're pretty happy with the Kawasaki jet ski too. The motorcycle, Harley, by choice, not because it's a better machine. Been buying Japanese cars and trucks now since 97 and they've been the most reliable and trouble free vehicles we've ever owned.
Just my 2 cents worth.