THE DOMESTIC AUTO manufacturer has learned numerous things from the foreign manufacturer. These benefits were so gradual that most domestic auto owners did not realize it.
During the 1950s, '60s and '70s, replacement parts were sold and installed everywhere. Windshield wiper blades were replaced when the season changed. Tires, batteries and shocks were constantly replaced, sometimes every 10,000 miles. Mufflers, spark plugs, belts -- the list goes on. The front wheel drive on the Riviera and Tornado were designed to fail at 40,000 miles. I feel domestic autos became competitive as soon as they dropped the parts replacement concept.