They benefitted from Fiat’s recent success at the time. The Italian’s Compact platform was transformed into a trio of newer variants of it.
In the meantime, the automotive retail business has been working overtime to reinvent itself. They are hungry for inventory, while production is ramping up under safer conditions along the assembly lines. Used cars are becoming scarce, with some auction facilities laying off personnel. However, the rental car companies are trying to reduce excess fleet in the pall of financial issues due to a reduction in travel.
Translation: Japanese cars were thought of as cheap tin boxes that would never make it through a Minnesota winter. That was the mentality of the American consumer until the last couple of decades. It does help that several Japanese automakers set up shop building vehicles on our soil to change our collective minds.
It is with historical context, however. It was ten years removed from a war that should have ended all wars. Unfortunately, a spat between Korean partisans turned into an international affair splitting the peninsula in half. The same trouble was brewing in Vietnam, a soon-to-be former French colony. Even those within the Soviet Bloc weren’t buying into the new world order as envisioned by Karl Marx. Hungary was a year away from challenging Moscow on whether it should be their superpower or not.