New faces, products, and benchmarks in 2013
In 2013, we said hello to ...
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
Chevy hadn't bestowed the Stingray name on its sports car since 1976. The critics' reaction: This one is worthy.
After a long lobbying effort with automakers, the nation's largest dealership group put its own brand atop stores.
Al Gardner, CEO, Chrysler brand
Gardner got the job in November after a career in sales and marketing, most recently heading a regional business center in Florida. Gardner, 50, has kept a low profile since then, but his debutante ball will be the Detroit auto show, where he will introduce the redesign of the brand's top-selling nameplate, the Chrysler 200.
Strong sales so far of the least-expensive Mercedes have cheered the brand's top brass, who see the car as a chance to attract young buyers. But doubters still wonder whether the car will tarnish the brand's image.
Jose Munoz, Head of Nissan's North American operations
Two promotions in 2013 brought Munoz, 48, to his new role. Now he must please an increasingly impatient Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, who wants a 10 percent market share in North America. Can he resist the siren lure of incentives?
Honda Accord Hybrid
50-mpg Honda Accord Hybrid
Yes, some smaller cars claim higher fuel-economy numbers. But now the Accord, one of the mid-sized segment's stalwarts, has raised the bar for the industry.
Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's global purchasing chief
Thai-Tang came to purchasing from the engineering side. Clashes between engineering and purchasing are common in the industry, and Thai-Tang's job will be to smooth over those tensions.
This buzz phrase got traction from investments by Google and declarations by Nissan and others that self-driving cars will be on the road by 2020.
Karl-Thomas Neumann, New chief of Opel
He was well known as CEO of supplier Continental, but in 2013 he took on a very different set of challenges at Opel. Neumann, 52, has one major change for 2014: He won't have to worry about not crowding Chevy in Europe.
Grace Lieblein, Head of General Motors purchasing
Since taking the job in January, after heading operations in Brazil, Lieblein, 53, has sought to get GM engineers and purchasers to work together more closely for lower costs and smoother launches.