I have always heard that england suffered from the effects of WWII in the form of shortages well into the early 1970s. I am not english so I can't attest to this but more than one person has said to me first hand that even in the 70's alloy was hard to come by and people were still salvaging german fighter planes in the country side (that last part may be exaggerated).
I don't know why people get so wrapped up in "brand loyalty" anymore. This year I had a real change of heart about this myself when Pontiac, a brand near and dear to my heart went tits up. I thought about it and you know what, who the fuck cares if people are brand or badge engineering, at least they are making something in that brands name. Pontiac hadn't been pontiac since the 1970s but you know what? the G8 GT was one of the best cars GM made in the last 5 years, and the new GTO (despite its rental car looks) is an excellent car to the point where I think about picking up a used one from time to time. I used to think "oh well they are just trying to take advantage of me and my own loyalties to x brand" when ever the topic of badge engineering is brought up, but now I think "you know, the only way things evolve is if they get made, so make it all. If it doesn't sell then they will remake it or it will be scrapped and someone will try again. Eventually you will get someone who knows what they are doing and get it right."
As americans have we become so arrogant that we thing they have to get it right on the first try or not at all? no wonder people buy boring shit box foreign cars.
I could write all day about GM and what they owe the american people, but really at the end of the day I would rather have a chevy powered pontiac in the market place than none at all.