Some bright spark has decided to revive the 1950s bubble car as a range extender

Some bright spark has decided to revive the 1950s bubble car as a range extender

There's a tale told that Leonard Lord, head of British Motor Corporation (the merged Austin and Morris post-war), eyed Isetta bubble cars and their ilk - result of the 1956 Suez Oil Crisis and general postwar austerity - and ordered Alec Issigonis to design something to get 'em (stronger words were used) off the roads.

Six million-odd Mini bullets later, bubble cars were well and truly dead and buried. You'd think. Until some nice Japanese company thought it would be a good idea to revive the idea as a range extender and hawk it around the globe with licence production in mind. Please, noooooooooooo.

It is said the D Art D-Face concept meets Japanese crash regulations but that's a market that still allows the sale of tiny minicars and one box vans. One of our acquaintances - who shall remain nameless - reckoned it'd get a minus 10 Euro NCAP score. Still, it's a clever retro design. Who'll be brave enough to move it beyond the concept stage?

Getting on for two months ago, I looked at the start of the GM ignition switch recall and said to a colleague: "This will run and run." It is. Today we report on GM adding lock cylinders and new keys to the actual switch replacement and $550m to the cost of the recall (now $1.3bn) though expecting "to report solid core operating performance in the first quarter financial results".

Yesterday, came news that GM, as a result of an initial report from one of the investigators it has hired, had suspended two engineers. We also saw reports that GM executives were hiring lawyers and today received press releases from two Texas law firms saying they were suing up to six GM engineers. And, earlier in the week, we learned GM had missed an NHTSA deadline to provide information and was being fined $7,000 a day.

Not to be outdone, Toyota announced a 6.76m recall for three issues affecting a vast number of models worldwide. I'd like to have been a fly on the wall in Akio Toyoda's office when that was brought to the attention of The Boss but both automakers, albeit with good reason, have been pretty open and proactive in getting details out to the media.

Away from humungeous recalls, Daimler posted humungeous, record profits and BMW booked an all-time record sales month. Can't (new product) possibly (new product) think (new product) why...

Meanwhile, the British Boffins at Land Rover thought it was time to make the bonnets of their offroaders see-through and Nissan decided to put a bit of money on the football.

Have a nice weekend.

Graeme Roberts, Deputy Editor,