The financial performance of the world's Top Ten car groups is settling into an interesting pattern. Financial results now being reported for 2004 are beginning to show that the more brands and subsidiaries companies are trying to manage, the worse their results. It could be coincidence but it is a near perfect correlation and the pattern has been taking shape for a little while. The numbers also confirm that a wayward subsidiary can hurt you a very great deal - even if it is small relative to the parent and even if it is just a minority shareholding. It holds therefore, that the more you have the more it can hurt, and the more frequently. This month's briefing, written by automotive financial expert Rob Golding looks in-depth at the world's Top Ten groups and analyses their financial situations.