We all know how badly managed the US auto industry has been, willfully oblivious to the obvious: that huge demand for big trucks and SUVs were not going to last forever and that fuel efficiency was not the the enemy. If they had spend half the time, energy and money into design, R&D and engineering that they devoted to ensuring protection from Washington they would probably not be in this mess (or at least not nearly as bad off).
We also know that they represent a pretty significant part of the manufacturing base in the US, especially with all of the links to suppliers. This makes a pretty compelling case for the government coming to their aid.
But is their trouble all their own fault? It can be argued that the credit crisis hurts their industry much more than most because of the fact that most auto purchases rely heavily on credit. Since traditional consumer credit sources have dried up (including home equity lines of credit), it is possible for them to argue that they are in a special position as sufferers from the credit crisis that the government allowed to happen.
I don't know how much water this argument holds, but I have been interested that this point is not being made much. One thing is for certain, the US auto market has cratered. Above, from Econbrowser, is a chart of US domestic car sales. Look at how far off are current year sales to previous years. Ouch.