The big car companies paid big to get George Bush 'elected' and kept paying to get more of what they wanted- big tax breaks for people who bought the kind of trucks and cars that the companies made the most money selling. And the car companies kept paying, through their grants to rightwing thinktanks, to bullshit the rest of us into believing that competition had virtues and that survival of the fittest was chief among them.
Now the chickens have come home to roost. The general public thinks the car companies are out-of-touch dinosaurs that deserve to be swallowed by the tar pits they built.
This disaster isn't something that just 'kinda happened' because American car buyers wanted big cars. It took a full-court press by the Big Three, with tax cuts, no-interest loans, and 24-7 advertising, to persuade Americans to buy as many large cars as they did. If the people have changed their minds now, that's their privilege.