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Record fines from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pending litigation from a number of private individuals and insurance agencies and the largest recall in its history haven't managed to impact Toyota's bottom line all that badly. According to the Standard & Poor's Valuation and Risk Strategies group, Toyota still has the most cash reserves of any automaker in the world. The total? Well over $48 billion.

The cash burn rate through 2008 at General Motors, Chrysler and, to a lesser degree, Ford, has been one of the big new stories in the auto business. After a disastrous third quarter, GM was down to about $11 billion and, along with Chrysler, was in danger of having insufficient cash on hand to pay bills at the end of the year.