3. Fujio ChoToyota Motor Corporation chairmanWeathering the economy in far better shape than GM2008 Rank: 2
What he's done: Cho and company led the hybrid movement, polishing Toyota's reputation. While his lineup now has hybrids ranging from Prius to Lexus LS 600h, he'll quickly add a Prius 2+2 coupe, a production version of the A-BAT, and a dedicated hybrid Lexus.
More enlightened than GM? Not exactly. Under Cho's watch, the big, new Toyota Tundra launched at the wrong time. Expected annual sales of 200,000 will struggle to stay above 100,000. Toyota lost $360 million in the U.S. for the six months ending September 30 thanks to "the shift of the market to compact vehicles and reduced production volume."
Failure? By Toyota standards, perhaps. It has cut global production plans by 673,000 vehicles for the year ending March 31, 2009. Toyota also has delayed U.S. Prius production by at least a year, to 2011.
Bottom line: Company is in better shape than most any other major automaker to weather the dismal market.