I think were listing a bit! (Photo credit: National Police Air Service)

I think we're listing a bit! (Photo credit: National Police Air Service)

One way or another, this first full working week after the festive break has been an impactful one. It wasn't all good. Shocking loss of life at a satirical magazine's office in Paris affected us all here. Depressing events and our thoughts are with the families of the victims.

In the automotive business, 2014 market numbers have been coming in. As expected, the US market came very close to 16.5m units. It augurs well for 2015, as GM CEO Mary Barra notes. And we also published this additional analysis of the US market numbers.

Europe, however, is looking a lot less upbeat on worries for the European economy. The hope has to be that the recovery will be at least as strong as forecast and that the falling price of oil will lead to higher consumer spending and confidence. One crumb of comfort: the annual European car market is growing again for the first time since 2009, even if market growth forecasts look low for 2015.

The news in emerging markets was a little mixed.

In China, BMW bailed its dealers out. Retailers in China have been getting pretty agitated by what they see as a push for sales by OEMs that leaves them losing money as demand slackens. I expect BMW's experience is not very different to that of others.

That said, the world's largest market is expected to continue to grow in 2015. Elsewhere in Asia, there are also some markets in reverse. Here's a handy guide to 2014 market totals in Asia and views on the outlook.

In Brazil, which has been a bit depressed lately, we heard about a new engine from Nissan for the Resende facility. They like their small engines in Brazil.

In the US, Honda took a pretty big rap on the knuckles from the NHTSA over its reporting failures for vehicle faults.

This week, we also published a review of another very competent Jaguar, the XFR-S Sportbrake

To end on a kind of positive note. The car transporter ship that got into trouble off southern England was a spectacular fail, I know. Lots of cars are sitting on it, some in better condition than others (but all likely to be scrapped I think). It's quite a saga and we've been following it this week. The really important thing though is not the cargo or the ship itself; it's the simple fact that all 28 crew were rescued very quickly. The ship was skilfully grounded in shallow water so that it would not roll over. If the problems had happened in deeper water, it would probably have been a very different and more tragic outcome. So thank goodness for that. 

The pictures of the ship this week have certainly been quite amazing. Yep, it will take some sorting out...

Have a good weekend!

Dave Leggett 

Editor, just-auto