"Lessons will be learned." That trite phrase is heard far too often here in Britain, usually being read from a statement, vetted by a whey-faced, dark-suited lawyer, by an equally whey-faced, dark-suited 'spokesman' attempting to explain to assembled media the latest bureaucratic cock-up, more often than not by one of the country's overly powerful and inept local councils. I didn't quite hear the phrase from the automakers and suppliers in those exact words at the time but the implication was obvious and you'd think some lessons might have been learned about globalisation of auto parts supply following the Japanese earthquake in March. Wouldn't you?

Apparently not. We're now almost into November and, after hearing promises that autoparts supply chains and sourcing would be closely scrutinised, and changes made, post the 'great north east earthquake' in Japan, look what's happened in Thailand. Essentially, flooding which began early in October initially affected several regions, key hubs of autoparts making but not of automaking, bar a Honda 'automobile' [four-wheel] plant. Which is still waaaay under water, by the way. Almost everyone else could still make cars and pickup trucks but can't get all the bits, many of which are made locally, and, of course, employees with other things on their minds, like survival, can't always make it to work, either. Hence the government's imposed five-day holiday on business this week to enable people to 'escape'. This is getting serious.

Initially it seemed that the flood effects would be relatively minimal and short term and even some well seasoned analysts thought so but it's been getting more problematic day by day. There were early reports of shortages of Thai-made parts affecting Honda output in Malaysia and India but that has now, in Toyota's case, worryingly spread as far afield as the US, Canada and even South Africa (where we in Britain get the Hilux pickup from).

Rome was not built in a day, as the old saying goes, and rearranging a global supply network something like Frost & Sullivan suggested recently will take time but I do wonder if Toyota, in particular known for its inertia, has applied as much post-'quake effort to this crucial factor as it should have. In the meantime, F&S has suggested, "to compensate for the loss of production in Thailand assembly plants, OEMs are likely to look for a short term production shift to other ASEAN regions, especially Indonesia and Malaysia. Honda assembles Civic, Jazz, CR-V and City models in its Thai plant but has the option to build the Jazz model in Indonesia which has already been assembling the model for years."

All our Thai flood coverage is grouped here, BTW.

Away from underwater Thailand, quarterly results have been rolling in - handily gathered up here - and are a mixed bag what with Ford and Daimler Q3 profits down a bit, VW laughing all the way to the bank and suppliers generally upbeat and well back in the black 'cos costs have been cut and global vehicle volumes are up. Ker-ching!

But, with the euro shenannigans (ref Greece) and other factors kicking in, the outlook for 2012 is still a bit mixed with a lot of hope still held in BRIC markets where China and India have slowed. Europe also remains A Worry and it was interesting to see some paring back this week at both PSA Peugeot Citroen and Renault.

Finally, it seems Saab's future direction has been determined, subject, as they say, to the usual regulatory approvals. This looks like it could end up reflecting the Geely/Volvo deal, now largely seen as a success, with the Chinese more or less leaving the Swedes alone to get on with it. But this ain't Geely and Volvo we're talking about....

Have a nice weekend.

Graeme Roberts, Deputy Editor, just-auto.com