More emerging market investment: Ford has just opened a new engine factory in Brazil

More emerging market investment: Ford has just opened a new engine factory in Brazil

Are post financial crash economies finally on the up? Financial results (first quarter for many; full fiscal year for Japan and India) have started rolling in and the ink is mainly black.

Even closely watched General Motors surprised this week. The analysts polled by the likes of Bloomberg News know their numbers and billions in recall costs and currency woes in Venezuela suggested a first quarter loss might be booked.

In the event, despite a US$1.3bn recall hit, The General pulled a US$100m net profit out of the hat, albeit $800m down on the previous year. European operations lost $300m despite other automakers noting improving sales in the region - GM is still tallying up heavy restructuring costs this side of the pond.

A minnow by comparison, Mitsubishi seems to have turned a corner. Despite a dip in Asia, mainly Thailand, parent MMC boosted full year sales enough to book a healthy rise in operating profit. And, as its European PR happily ensured we learned today, after three years of losses, the European unit (MME) booked healthy operating income making basket-case Europe the automaker's second most profitable global region after Asia. The Outlander PHEV seems to have been a hit with 19,000 orders held. Not bad, in a specialist, low-volume hybrid segment.

There were also good reports from Mazda, where Skyactiv technology continues to be a hit with buyers, and Honda, which is rolling out a new Fit/Jazz on multiple fronts including from one brand new NAFTA region plant. That car - so much bigger now than its Logo ancestors - is receiving many favourable reviews in markets like the US where you can now buy it; I can't understand why its European debut is still about a year off. New product draws in the customers, as more than one automaker has acknowledged in this latest quarterly financials round.

On the component side, Denso reported a 44% full year operating profit rise - a point of interest is the CEO's comment about production falling further in Japan as it increases elsewhere.

Speaking of which, another new plant has opened, this time in Brazil. Ford. I3 engines. 200,000 a year. $180m. The engines will be used in the redesigned Ka due in production in July plus other models already built at the Camacari complex.

Finally, we've an interesting interview with The Man In Charge of future Geely and Volvo architecture. Well worth a weekend read.

Have a nice one.

Graeme Roberts, Deputy Editor,