In one of those weeks that seem to just flash by, it was good news for some, and not good news for others. Let's be positive and start with the healthy stuff.

Ford posted another good set of quarterly numbers and its first net profit full year since 2005. Yes, Ethel, there were a few question marks over such things as debt levels, cash flow, small car profit margins and whether or not F-series drivers can, in future, be persuaded to cross Texas in a Fiesta but, one thing at a time, and due credit to Captain Alan Mulally and his management for keeping the good ship One Ford on course. And to those ex-employees who took a buyout for the team to help with the right-sizing.

Then there was Saab, which we may have mentioned once or twice these past months. Finally, after three bids and not a little talking to terms-and-conditions-apply GM, a binding agreement was inked. As our resident wise sage noted, that was roughly the point Koenigsegg reached before everything went rather un-Swedish so fingers crossed. Others expressed concerns, too, but I can't help thinking many people will be wishing Spyker success with the venture of keeping a once characterful and quirky brand afloat, even though the odds seem a bit stacked against.

Speaking of GM, it looks like the tall Texan with the drawl is going to be with us a while now and why not? Ed Whitacre can certainly hold his own at a press conference, answering only what he wants to and deftly dodging matters on which he does not want to elaborate, and I suspect the new GM board has noted what he's done so far - a substantial management shake-up with a bit of mid-level tweaking to come -  and figured on extending him enough rope to follow through. Roll on the IPO.

And then there was Toyota. Oh dear. Not just one big recall (to sort alleged floor mat hindrance of gas pedals) but two (the second to sort sticking accelerator mechanisms). This is all on top of a number of other sometimes-huge recalls in recent years, sometimes to sort out such mudane items as electric window switches.

As the second recall spread across to us in Europe, the what-did-they-know-and-when-did-they-know-it questions started as it appeared there had been a small number of sticky throttle problems here, too, and Toyota had gone as far as modifying parts used in production cars.

The pundits are out in force, of course, and there is a school of thought over here that recalls the Audi experience in the 1980s and says unintended acceleration is all the fault of Americans with big feet getting their medals puddled. Certainly, that accounts for the little-old-lady-goes-through-back-of-garage stories that occasionally brighten a tabloid reader's day here but, having seen the ABC News clips of apparently rational drivers recounting their tales of near misses, I think electronic gremlins need more scrutiny.

Intermittent faults are a techies' nightmare and get more common the more electronified we get. I have a cellphone that functions 100% 99.99999% of the time but occasionally freezes; my LCD TV occasionally won't start up; the satellite PVR goes all stop-motion on me once in a while. Unplug. Reboot. Sorted. But that's a problem on the road. And do we need stop-start buttons that need a three-second push for an on-road stop when a simple twist-off key did the trick for years, or complex zig-zag shift gates to provide a rarely-used 'manual' option for an automatic transmission? Course not.

Hopefully, Toyota will, like Ford did with the Explorer 'rollover' tyres, get past this, learn at considerable cost how to avoid this in the future, and continue building the affordable, reliable cars we've come to expect.

Have a nice weekend.

Graeme Roberts
Deputy Editor
just-auto.com