What actually happened to caused such well-known marques (Morris, Austin, MG, Hillman, Wolsley, Humber et al) to go under?
Out of all those names, you've only actually identified two companies; the BMC/British Leyland group which contained the marques of Austin, Morris, MG and Wolseley (along with Vanden-Plas and Riley), and the Rootes Group of Humber and Hillman (also Singer and Sumbeam.) Both companies were crippled by badge-engineering their product in the same marketplace, without cutting down on management, parts supply, servicing or sales. Essentially, all six BMC brands were competing with eachother to sell the same car. This is why, despite the ADO16 being Britain's biggest selling car for 12 out of 13 years, Ford calculated that the company made a loss of 90 pounds on EVERY SINGLE UNIT. That is mismanagement on a catastrophic level.
No it's not.They were builiding what Americans wanted to buy.They still say they don't make any money builiding small cars.
It was Henry Ford himself who said "If I'd asked my customers what they wanted, they'd have said a faster horse." The main issue of American construction is that, even five years ago, it was taking them 40 hours to produce each car when Toyota was achieving the same feat in only 25. That's monumental inefficiency, mainly caused by union demands. The current Ford boss has managed to fire 180,000 people, shut down a number of factories and got production up to 85% efficiency, but it's taken this crisis to get them that far and even then their cars aren't exactly technological marvels.
If you compare Polish vehicle construction during Communism (FSO, FSM, FSR, FST, FSD), and compared that to the number of foreign factories and how many people they employ, you might be pleasantly surprised. There's no need for Poland to have a specifically Polish car when, in a few years time, its roads will be boringly European and as such, will suit all the blandwagons currently being produced by Fiat and Opel inside Poland.