But the point isn't the importance of flexibility in assembly line design. The point is that big isn't necessarily good, and every time I hear the Big Three (or various financial institutions) described as "too big to fail," I am reminded of E.F. Schumacher's amazing book Small Is Beautiful. If you haven't read it, now would be a very good time to do so.
There's something tragically wrong with building entities that are "too big to fail," if only because everything fails eventually. Nothing lasts forever, so when 3 million jobs rely on the survival of a single company, um... that's a bad idea.
We already have laws that prevent monopolies, because monopolies are bad for the economy. Why not a law that limits the size of a company, for the same reason? And the more I think about it, the more convinced I am that allowing the company to fail is less bad than not allowing it to fail. Yes, the current economic situation might justify keeping these huge companies artificially afloat for awhile... but then again, maybe not.
[Also - if a foreign-owned company builds cars in this country, are they really "foreign" cars? The jobs are American, right?]