Brother, can you spare a dime? The jet-setting Detroit Three at hearings: left, fired GM CEO Rick Wagoner, ex Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli, middle, Ford's surviving CEO Alan Mulally, right.
Every December, a group of auto scribes gathers together to share some good cheer and see how we did at predicting the events of the unfolding year. To be honest, even the best of the group failed to come close to calling the big stories of 2009.
No surprise, really, when you consider the strange twists and turns the auto industry has taken during the last 12 months. Even the best fiction writers would have had trouble scripting this plot.
Sure, there were signs that the auto industry was slumping, and that the Detroit’s Three were in trouble, but having both General Motors and Chrysler go bankrupt? And the U.S. government become majority owner of GM, with Italian automaker Fiat controlling Chrysler? And what about Toyota? Twelve months ago, most of us were writing about the fact that the giant Japanese automaker seemed certain to become the world’s largest automaker, finally overtaking troubled GM. So, who could have begun to suspect all the problems that would follow for Toyota in 2009? And what about the unexpected rise of the Chinese?
But I’m getting ahead of myself. The fact is, there were so many big stories in 2009 it may be impossible to come up with a fair, accurate and complete list of the 10 Top Auto Stories that everyone will agree on. But I’ll try.
And TheDetroitBureau.com would like to encourage readers to come up with the stories they would add to the list. Just go to the Comments section at the end of this story.