Not just the motorcycle and car industries ws it. We built the best ships but using outdated methods because the yard owners wouldn't invest. Then along comes the big boxes, so Stevedores were finished. Where has our cotton and clothing industry gone. A lot because of outdated practices again. The gradual loss of engineering skills impacted then on railway works and the whole country went into decline after post war austerity, and spending what we did have rebuilding Europe. Outdated technology, militant workforce, upcoming competition, a failing Empire, and we lost the lot, right down to our own fruit producing farmers. We have seen an industrial revolution of a different sort.
The costs of Capitalism Rodders, and you're dead right - it wasnt just the motor industry which suffered. Capitalism feeds on growth and profit but only to the point where costs to produce, via higher wages to keep your skilled workforce and more expensive raw materials, are more than you can sell your products / services for, and as for investment, forget it - it eats into profits too much.. To maintain profit you need to find more efficient production methods or trim down your workforce - or both, as illustrated by your comment about the "big boxes".
And there's the problem, we need people in work to earn money to spend money - it's what makes the economy go round and keeps it bouyant. So what did we do to keep earning a profit? We turned to countries like Japan who were making everything cheaper than we were because they had a lower paid workforce, which meant lots of UK money went abroad, and that gave them the intitial foothold into our marlketplaces. Now of course we're turning away from Japan as their costs became higher and ended up sourcing goods from the likes of Taiwan / Malaysia / Korea and now of course good old China. We've even got workers here from Eastern Europe fruit picking for gawds sake!
Back in the B.L days our motor and general manfacturing industries were already doomed even without the likes of Edwardes and Red Robbo, we were the victims of our own profit driven economy and were never going to compete on price with poorer countries on cost while they had a workforce willing to work for buttons. In many ways China proves the point that most people buy on price above quality - they really do churn out some real crap!