1. Bob Nardelli, CEO, Chrysler LLC
The arrival of the former Home Depot and General Electric exec was a surprise, but the industry newcomer is moving rapidly to cut Chrysler's losses.
2. Stefan Jacoby, CEO, Volkswagen of America
Wolfsburg's new man in the United States is on a mission to stop the red ink. He's moving the headquarters, rejiggering the product lineup and looking for a factory site.
3. Sync, Ford-Microsoft on-board communication and entertainment system
Seeking a technological edge, Ford Motor Co. expanded the system's rollout and gave it a high-profile, high-budget marketing push.
4. Audi R8, high-end sports car
With a $115,600 sticker, head-turning styling and limited production, Audi is using the R8 as its wedge to push the brand upscale.
5. Robert Johnson, billionaire founder of Black Entertainment Television
Johnson is a principal in the RLJ-McLarty-Landers Automotive Partnership, a new private dealership group that aims to become a major player among minority-owned auto retailers.
6. Oleg Deripaska, Russian billionaire
Deripaska acquired a $1.54 billion stake in Magna International Inc. He also owns nearly 5 percent of General Motors stock and controls Russian automaker GAZ, which he wants to make a global player.
7. First Auto Works, leading Chinese automaker
FAW plans to assemble cars in Mexico. Japanese and Korean carmakers built up sales in North America before building factories, but the Chinese are building plants at the outset. Think they'll be more aggressive than their predecessors?
8. India, Asian subcontinent
India's automakers are still blips on the North American radar. But giant Indian companies such as Tata and Mahindra & Mahindra may be better equipped to succeed here than Chinese counterparts still learning capitalism.
9. 2008 Toyota Tundra, truly full-sized pickup
Toyota finally gets in tune with U.S. pickup buyers. The new Tundra is 10 inches longer, 5 inches taller and 4 inches wider than its predecessor. The top-end, 5.7-liter V-8 can tow more than 5 tons.
10. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives
By most accounts, the California Democrat rammed the 35 mpg CAFE requirement through the House. To do so, she withstood fellow Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, who in the past had run interference for automakers.