Quarterly results fill this news editor with a certain dread. It's not that they're not interesting, it's that not being a numbers man, there is only so much consolidated net operating gross EDITBA loss per earnings share profit, excluding exceptional charges booked two tax moons ago, I can take in a day...

Those we reported this week included strong signs from Ford that Alan Mulally's well-laid plans - which, sadly, have included wielding a very large axe over plants and white and blue collar workers alike - are bearing fruit.

Mitsubishi has also wielded an axe - over its Australian car assembly plant, which closed last month - and is another strong improver. These are the guys who, some readers will recall, had their very own sub-prime crisis a few years before the housing thing blew up Stateside - lending to parties with less than stellar credit records to boost sales did not, to put it mildly, work out.

Toyota, Honda and Mazda also announced passable results this week, though all are cautioning a drop for next fiscal year as the 100-yen dollar and rising raw material costs bite.

Against that, there was a higher than expected loss at strike-hit AAM. And the UAW continues its little plant-level differences with GM.

Speaking of results, VW held an AGM this week and our very own Rob Golding offered his opinion of proceedings.

Audi's new Q5 SUV certainly attracted a lot of interest from j-a readers when it was unveiled at the Beijing show (don't miss our Guy Bird's report) this week. Certainly seems to make a lot more sense size-wise on British and European roads than the uber alles Q7 which I personally seem to encounter jammed up my exhaust pipe on urban streets trying to bully me into exceeding the speed limit - school run via Afganistan, perchance, madam? - or blocking footpaths because some rich git property developer is too lazy to walk a few yards.

The Q5 looks nice - with yet another benchmark Audi-gorgeous interior - and is right-sized for those looking to move upmarket from a RAV4 or CR-V. It also nicely complements the VW Tiguan in the group portfolio but I wonder it it rides as harshly as Audis are wont to do (the consumer boys say the new A4 is somewhat improved on that score). Launch in China (at the Beijing show) was significant, as it is rumoured to be built there soon and the model also debuts a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission as well.

Finally, I had a chuckle at this story from the Economic Times of India talking about the relative merits of BMW horns sourced from Germany and India. What I want to know is this - who was the poor engineering intern that got to count the honks?

Enjoy your weekend,

Graeme Roberts
Deputy/News Editor