10 automotive surprises of 2010

The year wasn't as momentous in automotive history as 2009, when both General Motors and Chrysler went through government-sponsored bankruptcies, but it had its share of unexpected events. Here's our top 10.

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Whitacre takes a hike
Whitacre takes a hike

General Motors was putting the final touches on its initial public offering when Ed Whitacre decided that nine months as CEO would be long enough and that he couldn't promise he wouldn't be heading back to Texas, IPO or no IPO. GM's board scrambled to find a successor and finally drafted Dan Akerson to succeed him.

On the way out, Whitacre was praised for his straight talk, clear vision, and folksy ways. But it turns out he seldom voiced an opinion on key decisions, relying on subordinates instead, and spent many hours wandering the halls of GM's Detroit headquarters making unannounced office drop-ins.

NEXT: The case of the disappearing runaway cars
Last updated December 31 2010: 9:35 AM ET
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