The 25th anniversary edition of the Automotive News All-Star team lacks a Most Valuable Player -- a reflection of the industry's volatility over the past year.
The 20-person team for 2006 emerged from a vote of Automotive News editors and reporters. Team members were selected for their industry achievements since July 1, 2005.
Traditionally, we select an industry leader of the year from the team's top CEOs in North America, Asia and Europe. Last year's industry leader, then-Chrysler group CEO Dieter Zetsche, now runs parent company DaimlerChrysler AG, a job he assumed in January.
This year there is no top North American CEO. Given the problems that confront General Motors and Ford Motor Co., it was hard to make a case for All-Star status for either GM CEO Rick Wagoner or Ford CEO Bill Ford.
And whether the Chrysler group should continue to be treated as a North American automaker comparable to GM and Ford is a dicey proposition. Chrysler itself doesn't think so.
Toyota Motor Corp.'s success earned its president, Katsuaki Watanabe, a place on this year's team, but he has held that job for barely a year. Similarly, the restructuring efforts of Fiat S.p.A. CEO Sergio Marchionne have shown impressive success, but the job is far from finished.
Despite the absence of an industry leader, this year's team is deep and seasoned. It recognizes the best executive talent the industry has to offer.