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During the 1980s, increased attention was paid by the united Auto Workers union and politicians to the U.S. automobile industry and the problems it was facing from Japanese competition. Now, with 1992 being a presidential election year, the candidates are continuing to draw attention to what they see as the problems of the U.S. auto industry. And this concern is not without reason. The share of the u.s. market held by the Big Three domestic producers (GM, Ford, and Chrysler), has decreased dramatically over the past three decades. As is shown in Figure 1, the market share of u.s. based producers has fallen from a high of 95.11% in 1962, to around 82% in the mid-1970S, to a low of around 64% in 1987 (MVMA World Motor Vehicle Data, 1990). These figures become even more alarming if we look at the market share of foreign transplants (i.e. foreign auto production plants in the U.S.) and imports taken together. They accounted for 41% of the market in 1990 (Singleton, 1992, p.22).



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