5. Jim Press' appointment to the Toyota board. In June, the affable American became the first non-Japanese to join the board of Japan's Toyota Motor Corp. In September, he quit. Toyota says it is in no rush to find another foreigner for its board.
6. Ford's ownership of Aston Martin. For many years, Ford was the market share leader in Britain. Its Anglophile leanings date to the days of Henry Ford II, who took great pleasure from his London sojourns. But Ford no longer leads in British car sales, and it no longer owns Aston Martin. Jaguar and Land Rover may go next.
7. Plastic panels on Saturns. The dent-resistant door panels were unlike those on other small cars, just as Saturn's exemplary labor relations were unlike those at other General Motors units. But with Saturn losing its independent status, plastic panels are just the latest Saturn innovation that didn't last.
8. Lear Corp. CEO Robert Rossiter's plan to sell the company to Carl Icahn. Rossiter and Lear's management put together the deal; the board endorsed it. But many thought the price too low. In a rare sign of independence, Lear's shareholders rejected the deal. The board saw the no vote as a rebuke of the deal, not the deal makers, and extended Rossiter's contract.