By nearly all accounts, things are starting to look up at General Motors. The company has shed dead weight, cut down its debt and slimmed its dealer network in order to be a more healthy business, but those moves have officially knocked The General from the top 10 of Fortune Magazine's fabled 500 list. It's the first time in 101 years GM hasn't been one of the top 10 businesses on the list.
Historically, Toyota has been the automaker with the Midas touch... everything it did seemed to turn to gold. But, in light of Toyota's recent safety and recall woes, if you were compiling a short list of companies that you admire today – as in right now – would the Big Red T make the cut?
Wal-Mart has been booming since the recession began, and with 2008 sales of $406 billion dollars, the retail giant had its best year ever. That didn't stop Wal-Mart from losing its grip on first place in the Fortune 500, though, as Exxon Mobil smoked all comers with $443 billion in sales last year. Exxon Mobil also topped all companies in profits last year, tallying a cool $45 billion in revenue.
Fortune's newsstand issue will soon carry the story of the Toyota Prius, and well, we've all heard it before. There are the usual anecdotes of success and failure - "stretch" goals that seemed nearly impossible to meet, engineers who had an idea that'd surely work but was likely too expensive, and real-world test failures that demonstrated the limitation of computer modeling. Essentially, it's a story repeated throughout the auto industry every day.
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