By the early 1970s, Volkswagen was at the point where they needed to make changes for a modern world. They knew that their most loyal customers would jeer at the notion of their beloved air-cooled, horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engines that were mounted in the back would turn towards a more conventional vehicle format.
The 1950s lifted this victorious country out of austerity and rationing. We had to do so in order to survive a massive war fought on two major fronts. Once our troops came home, our country began to climb out of this period and into overdrive. We were optimistic of the future thanks to our victory in the war.
Once upon a time, General Motors dropped off a few Buicks across the Pacific in China. They loved them – a lot. Then, came the Japanese invading Manchuria, World War II, the push back of the Japanese invaders, and the rise of communism and Mao Zedong. Mao dies, China finds a way to have communism with capitalism, and Buick returns to become the biggest nameplate in the land.
My childhood was dictated by a few well-known facts about the USA automotive market. One, I lived in California. This was a very convenient place for importers to start their operations first, as its ports were across the Pacific from Japan and the Republic of Korea. Also, the state's market had a track record of customer acceptance of Japanese and Korean imports. Toyota and Nissan started in California and saw their fortunes grow there over time.