Happy New Year’s Eve to all our readers. While you’ve been seeing many top 10 lists all over the Internet as we say farewell to 2010 one of the lists you’re most likely to come across on automotive sites are the Top 10 Cars of 2010…well, not here (we’ll do one too, don’t worry). We decided to do something a little different and create a top 10 list of the most important moments in the automotive industry of 2010.
Let’s get started…
1. General Motors’ IPO:
- It was probably the most important automotive industry moment in 2010. On Nov. 3, 2010, General Motors announced that it has started the process of a public offering. On its opening day at the NYSE on Nov. 18, GM’s common stock made its debut at $35 a share and rose as high as $35.99 in early trading. The issue included 478 million shares of common stock, for a total of $15.77 billion, and 87 million shares of mandatory convertible junior preferred stock, for a total of $4.35 billion. As of Dec. 30, the stock stood at 36.82. GM’s shares still have to rise to nearly $49 for the government to break even.
2. First Nissan LEAF and Chevrolet Volt delivery:
- Electric-cars made huge headlines in 2010 with General Motors delivering the first Chevrolet Volt and Nissan delivering the first all-electric LEAF.
3. BP’s oil spill was one of the largest man-made disasters in histroy:
- When your company is responsible for one of the largest disasters in history, you wouldn’t expect your public relations department to tweet, “Look, cut us some slack. We’ve kinda just been winging this whole ‘deepwater drilling’ thing.” Well, that’s because BP didn’t. Instead, the tweets came from comedian Josh Simpson. Nonetheless, CEO Tony Hayward hurt the company’s image by downplaying the damage and issuing statements like “it wasn’t our accident” and “I just want my life back” after 11 workers lost their lives in the explosion of oil rig Deepwater Horizon.
4. Toyota’s CEO apologizes to buyers:
- Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda apologized to the company’s shareholders in 2009, followed by an apology to Japan in early 2010. However, in late February 2010, Toyoda apologized to buyers during his trip to Washington and apologized to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. “When the cars are damaged, it is as though I am as well,” he said. “I sincerely regret that some people actually encountered accidents in their vehicles.”
5. Ford Explorer / Jeep Grand Cherokee show life to the SUV market:
- The 2011 Ford Explorer and the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee showed the automotive industry that American automakers can still build some of the best SUVs on the market. The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee became known as Chrysler Group’s pride and joy, while the 2011 Ford Explorer showed that America can sell SUVs in a new fuel-efficient manner.
6. Ford kills Mercury:
- On June 2, 2010, FoMoCo announced that it will kill the Mercury brand with production of the brand coming to an end in the fourth quarter of 2010. The company said that it will allocate Mercury’s financial, product development, production and marketing, sales and service resources towards growing and enhancing its luxury Lincoln brand.
7. Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport breaks top speed record at 268 mph:
- For all of us gear heads, this was probably one of the most important moments of 2010. The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport received an increased horsepower from 1,001-hp to 1,200-hp with a maximum torque of 1,106 lb-ft. The folks at TUV and Guinness took the average of two runs (one at 265.3 mph and one at 269.6 mph), which came in at 268 mph. Click here for more info.
8. The USA gets its own Top Gear:
- Another important moment for gear heads and fans of the UK Top Gear. The History Channel filled our desire of having our very own Top Gear in the United States starring Adam Ferrara, Tanner Foust, Rutledge Wood. The show aired on Nov. 21 and, according to us, still has some growing up to do to live up to the UK version. Here is our review of the first episode.
9. Ford sells Volvo to Geely / GM sells Saab to Spyker Cars:
- In 2010, we saw the sale of two Swedish brands from two American automakers. On January 26, 2010 General Motors and Spyker Cars announced that they have reached a binding agreement on the sale of Saab Automobile AB to Spyker Cars. A couple months later, on March 28, 2010, FoMoCo announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell Volvo and related assets to Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Company Limited.
10. Bob Lutz retires:
- One of the most important figures in automotive history retired in 2010. General Motors confirmed on March 3, 2010 that Bob Lutz will officially leave his Vice Chairman position and retire as of May 1, 2010. On May 1, Lutz said:
As I mark my last day at General Motors today, I want to say a special thank you and farewell to the loyal readers of FastLane. This blog would not have been the success it has become without you, and I”m sure you”ll continue to read the many interesting posts about GM and its vehicles that will follow on these virtual pages.
I leave here today knowing full well that this company is on the right track, especially in terms of the products, which pave the path to success.
* Note: List is in no particular order.
– By: Omar Rana