The two big questions as we lurched into this week were "What will happen to Saab?" and "What will happen at Renault?" One was answered, sort of.

Saab, as you probably know, last week stopped production at least twice after suppliers, not unreasonably, stopped shipments because they hadn't been paid. One Swedish government minister has now made it very clear detailed answers to questions about planned financial restructuring need to be forthcoming before any taxpayer funded liquidity help.

And our own Simon Warburton, diligently tracking this situation since it began, learned on Wednesday that the automaker and its suppliers group were 'talking' - by text message (SMS) which we thought extraordinary. Saab desperately needs sales if it is to survive but who is going to plunk down the money for one when the maker's future is as uncertain as it seems at the moment, despite the expected assurances from parent company Spyker?

Renault. Oh dear. There had to be at least one fall guy and, so far the tally is about seven. One of those who handed in his head, accepted this time after an early refusal by supremo Carlos Ghosn, was COO Patrick Pelata who will, nonetheless, remain within the Renault-Nissan alliance while a successor, likely to be recruited from within, is sought. There are no winners in this extraordinary saga - let he who has never been had cast the first stone - and kudos to M Pelata for taking the rap, as it were.

Elsewhere, there was news the much-hyped Nissan Leaf EV has some problems with, er, leaving, occasionally; it seems a few units have an a/c system software glitch but our spies have not heard of any such incidents here in the UK yet.

The effects of the March earthquake continue to be felt; Mitsubishi is one automaker constantly juggling around output at its three Japanese plants and today Toyota confirmed half-output until at least early June. Prompting the number-crunchers at Edmunds to stir up the tea leaves and predict varying scenarios for the US summer, car sales-wise.

Finally, a couple of revivals of note. In China, the old LDV-Daewoo Maxus van is coming back, now courtesy of GM local JV partner SAIC and, over here in Blighty, volume production (hopefully) of MG started again, also courtesy of SAIC. Fings ain't wot they usedta be....

Have a good weekend.

Graeme Roberts, Deputy Editor,

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