Here is a roundup of notable comings and goings of people, vehicles and organizations in the auto industry in 1998:
People moving up, out or on.
A big winner in General Motors' summer shake-up was Ron Zarrella, 49, GM's champion of brand management, who was named president of GM North America.
Another winner was Rick Wagoner, GM's new president and COO. At the tender age of 45, he is the leading candidate to ascend to the company throne.
As president of GM's International Operations, Lou Hughes, 49, got into a serious spat with underlings at Adam Opel AG. Chairman Jack Smith dismembered Hughes' empire. Now Hughes is in charge of GM's new business strategy.
At Ford Motor Co., William Clay Ford Jr., 41, was elected chairman, returning a Ford family member to that position after 18 years.
Alex Trotman, 65, stepped down as chairman. Jac Nasser, 51, was elected Ford Motor Co. president and CEO, after a successful stint running global automotive operations.
Peter Pestillo, 60, a labor strategist who created goodwill with the UAW, was rewarded: He was promoted to vice chairman.
At Ford Motor Credit Co., Edsel Ford II, 50, resigned as president but remained a Ford Motor Co. consultant and director.
Jim O'Connor, 55, was named head of Ford Division, wearing a new title: president. Mark Hutchins succeeded O'Connor at Lincoln Mercury, also with the title of president.
Ross Roberts, 60, left Ford Division to champion Ford Retail Network dealership consolidations worldwide.
Robert Lutz, 66, retired from the former Chrysler Corp. July 1, wrote a book on his business philosophy and then took command of Exide Corp., the troubled battery maker.
Elsewhere, Dick Recchia, 59, who ran Mitsubishi's American sales arm for 15 years, retired to fly fish for the perfect trout.
Greg Warner, 54, vice president of Kia Motors America, was a marketing whiz who worked his way up through Ford and Toyota.
Strother MacMinn, 79, was the grand old man of Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif. He was a founding father of Toyota's Calty design studio in Newport Beach.
Ferdinand 'Ferry' Porsche, 88, ran the testing program for the original VW Beetle and the Auto Union Grand Prix cars while working in his father's transportation design consulting firm in the 1930s. Ferry Porsche built the first Porsche car, the Type 356, in 1948.
Wilhelm Karmann, 83, founded German body supplier Wilhelm Karmann GmbH, and gets credit for designing and manufacturing the VW Bug-based Karmann Ghia sports car and the VW Scirocco coupe.
Semon 'Bunkie' Knudsen, 85, was passed over for the GM presidency and defected to Ford, only to run into a brick wall named Lee Iacocca.
William Glaub, 49, president of Chrysler Canada Ltd., died while on his honeymoon in the Caribbean. He succeeded longtime Chrysler Canada President Yves Landry, 60, who suffered a fatal heart attack while vacationing in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Cadillac Catera's advertising icon, the Red Duck, was scrapped for not selling enough cars.
Toyota Tercel/Paseo. Toyota's entry-level econoboxes were too expensive to be profitable, especially when imported from Japan. They will be replaced in 2000 with the 'new basic car' with totally different architecture.
Mazda MX-6. Mazda's cost-cutting regime apparently saw no hope for the sporty coupe, and killed its only American-made car.
Infiniti J30. One of Nissan Design International's first big design risks. The $38,000 car was slashed to $32,000 to be competitive against the Lexus ES 300, but it still did not sell.
Acura 2.5TL. Ordinary styling, uninspiring marketing, uncompetitive pricing, all mated to a five-cylinder engine and a numb suspension.
Suzuki X-90. There was an old lady who lived in a shoe ... Doomed from the start by too-Japanese styling.
Buick Skylark. Buick's small car was supposed to be a modestly priced volume seller. But a small Buick never made much sense.
Oldsmobile Eighty Eight. It has a long history - it has been in the lineup since 1949. But history does not sell cars these days. GM announced the venerable nameplate would be retired along with another GM old-timer, the Buick Riviera, launched in 1963.
Eagle Talon. Eagle and its last car, the Talon, were dropped at the end of the 1998 model year. The brand was created after Chrysler Corp. purchased American Motors in 1987.
Lincoln Mark VIII. Another large luxury coupe reached the end of the road.
Organizations in transition
Chrysler Corp. Tied the knot with Daimler-Benz AG, creating a new global powerhouse, DaimlerChrysler AG.
American Automobile Manufacturers Association. After Chrysler was acquired by Daimler-Benz, the Big 3's trade association was scrapped.
Driver's Mart Worldwide Inc. In 1996 a group of new-car dealers created Driver's Mart, a chain of franchised used-car superstores, to compete with AutoNation USA and CarMax. Republic Industries Inc., which owns AutoNation, bought Driver's Mart this year and absorbed it into AutoNation.
ITT Automotive. Parent ITT Industries wanted out of the auto business. It sold the main pieces to Valeo SA and Continental AG.
Other victims of supplier merger-mania were: Cooper Automotive, purchased by Federal Mogul; T&N PLC (Federal Mogul); and Becker Group (Johnson Controls Inc.)