Maybe the reason for U.S. automaker's problems has less to do with the cost of retirement and health insurance programs than management has led us to believe:
Japanese gain top slots in US car league, by Bernard Simon, Financial Times: The Asian invasion of the North American car market has passed another milestone with Consumer Reports ... ranking Japanese models as its top choice in all 10 vehicle categories. ... Not a single Toyota, Honda or Nissan model is included in the magazine’s list of used-car “lemons”. Of 34 used-car models reporting an unusually high number of problems, six are Chevrolets, five GMCs and four Volkswagens. ... Of 44 “most satisfying” vehicles, 31 are Japanese.
That explains this:
GM, Ford See Sales Slide, Plan to Cut Production, WSJ: General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. reported sales fell in February and announced plans to cut second-quarter production. GM, the world's largest auto maker, said its U.S. vehicle sales dropped 2.5% in February, while Ford's sales dropped 4% as Detroit continued to battle gains by Asian rivals. ...