Some analysts are now saying that even with the bailout, Chrysler would/will go bankrupt, as the company has been unhealthy for ages...after all, that's why Daimler dumped them. As far as 'doing okay,' I read somewhere the other day that BMW, while scaling back production and altering product development plans slightly, maintains that it can survive the current market trend for roughly two years.
Much as I don't like the idea of government bailouts (hey -- where's mine???), I like the idea of so many jobs (in so many economic sectors...there would be a tremendous ripple effect) going away even less. The bailout actually made sense, potentially: the idea of a 'car czar' to keep the companies accountable could have been a good idea...so long as the right person was in that position.
The American manufacturers are going under because they've spread themselves too thin. Take GM, for instance: it's got too many divisions (Chevy, GMC, Pontiac, Buick, Cadillac, Saturn, Hummer, Saab, and until recently Oldsmobile -- and that's just in the US) selling too many models on too few platforms. How many cosmetically-altered versions of the same SUV does the American buying public need, anyway? It's not so many divisions that are the problem -- its that they all sell roughly the same vehicle with precious little that substantially differentiates them. A Cadillac Escalade, as nice as it is, is still a Chevy Suburban with designer sheetmetal at a $30,000 premium. The Chrysler Corporation has tried to differentiate its models somewhat -- and has only really succeeded with Jeep (though that brand's marketing message has become muddled recently too -- a seven-model SUV line? Really??). The rest of the Chrysler corporation is mired in brand identity issues: meaning, it really has no brand identity.
Then look at the Japanese and European business models. BMW is BMW, and also has MINI, but a MINI is a distinct vehicle marketed far, far from any of its BMW cousins. Mercedes-Benz has Maybach. The Volkswagen group is large and its myriad connections are a little confusing at times, depending upon who's bought shares of whom, but Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, and Lamborghini don't exactly have a lot of market overlap. Toyota has Scion and Lexus at opposite ends of the pricing spectrum, and Nissan and Honda have Infiniti and Acura, respectively.
Size matters. As a case in point, remember the Mazda Millennia of the mid-nineties? It was supposed to be the pilot vehicle for an upscale line to rival Lexus, Acura, and Infiniti called Amanti. Mazda canned the Amanti plans at the last minute, staying small instead. Currently, it is one of the only brands anywhere actually watching its sales growing right now. And Ford is less in trouble, relatively speaking, because it had the foresight to sell of its Premier Auto Group (Land Rover, Jaguar, Aston Martin, and now rumored to be looking for a buyer for Volvo) and controlling interest in Mazda, and because in Europe, it's actually got desireable vehicles. Daimler recognized Chrysler as problematic, and dumped it years ago after a never-good merger. GM is trying to get rid of Hummer and is rumored to be considering drastic downsizing or disbanding of Saturn and Pontiac, and Chrysler apparently wants to sell off the Viper as its own brand. Too late, though...who's buying now?
Long story short, the American automakers have had a faulty business plan for decades (Chevy Cavalier/Cadillac Cimmaron? The Chrysler cookie-cutter K-car?). It just took a confluence of unfortunate circumstances (record gas prices when most vehicle development was on large SUVs, etc.) to really highlight this fact.