Can it really be 'that time of the year' again? 2003 seems to have passed by pretty quickly and it was another eventful one for the automotive industry. A good year or a bad one? As ever, that depends on your vantage point, but one thing's for sure - it could have been a lot worse. The early part of 2003 was dominated by concerns over the effects of imminent military conflict in Iraq. How would the global economy react? What would the fallout for consumer confidence be and how would car sales be impacted? The oil price took a hike and the doomsayers came out of the woodwork. But our worst fears were not realised. The initial military conflict, at least, was over quickly and that calmed the markets. The oil price came down again. Consumers largely took Iraq in their stride. Car sales did not fall off a cliff, although they were being supported by very low interest rates and customer incentives.