3. Daimler
3. Daimler
Daimler's Mercedes-Benz deflected embarrassments like the elimination of the Maybach line and the abrupt departure of its North American boss in an expense account dispute to hang on to third place. Through good times and bad, Mercedes has maintained its reputation as the uber automaker, and with its charismatic chairman Dieter Zetsche, it has added an approachable personality that sets it apart from its gray-suited competitors. Mercedes will get a big lift in 2012 from the debut of its flagship S-Class, which for the first time will add a plug-in hybrid option in addition to the usual gas-gulpiing V-8s and V-12s. (Note: E-Class shown.)


By Alex Taylor III - Last updated March 01 2012: 10:19 AM ET