A tumultuous decade eerily reminiscent of the current period of crisis faced by U.S. automakers, the '70s drove Chrysler to the brink of bankruptcy. Encumbered by U.S. antitrust laws, automakers had difficulty responding to demands for environmentally friendly vehicles that got better mileage. With lower sales than both Ford and General Motors, Chrysler had to retrofit its engines to meet emission standards, which harmed its fuel economy in the midst of an oil crisis.
Reliant on large, gas-guzzling vehicles, the company lacked a strong compact line, and Japanese automakers swooped in to fill the void. And in a move that sounds increasingly familiar today, Chrysler asked the U.S. government for a $1.5 billion bailout to avoid bankruptcy just four months before the end of the decade.
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