Toyota Motor

2009 was annus horribilis for Toyota. The world's largest automaker faced declining global vehicle demand, a stronger Japanese yen, and worst of all, a string of embarrassing recalls that reached ten million worldwide.

It was a rude introduction for new president Akio Toyoda, but 2010 looks better. The automaker reported a surprise profit in its fiscal fourth quarter and is forecasting an earnings increase for this year as it boosts Asia sales and cuts costs further. A much-needed image boost will come from the introduction of the $350,000 Lexus LFA, a carbon-fiber sports car of which only 500 will be built.