10 Surprising Brand Winners of 2011

General Motors Made a Profit
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2. General Motors Made a Profit

Just a few short years ago, General Motors looked like a terminal patient on government-sponsored life support. By 2011, GM was making big profits, even in the midst of a nagging economic slowdown. The key to the brand's revival? Better products and fewer product brands.

Lesson: Products, not marketing, actually create your brand.