THE WEEK THAT WAS: It's (mostly) good news week...

By Graeme Roberts | 25 October 2013

Ford CFO Bob Shanks should have been happy with the Q3 results and full year guidance update out this week

Ford CFO Bob Shanks should have been happy with the Q3 results and full year guidance update out this week

On the whole, I think I'll bill the seven days just passed (TGIF) as largely good news week.

Ford - profits up, forecast for whole of 2013 looking a little better than when the CFO last gazed into his crystal ball.

Daimler - Q3 EBIT (a better measure of whether or not an automaker actually made a buck making cars) up 16%.

Volkswagen - just opened its 16th, (count 'em, 16!) Chinese joint venture plant - this one with SAIC. Adding another 5,700 jobs and 300,000 cars. VW opened another just a few weeks ago and yet another is in the works for a 2015 opening.

Nissan - the king of confusing model names is kicking off 10,000 extra units a year in Thailand - now its source of most models for ASEAN and Australasia - so it can sell the Teana locally with an Altima rebadge for Australia (and I assume New Zealand). That Altima is much the same as the US one with the 2.5 litre petrol I4 but Oz has ticked the 3.5 litre V6 box. Old Teana, you may recall, also came with Maxima badges, a nameplate that has been popular in the US and Australasia.

UK automaking plc - nine months into 2013 and the 1m production peg has well and truly been passed, prompting optimistic comments on likely 2013 sales from new SMMT grand fromage and seasoned auto industry PR veteran Mike Dawes.

And, after sorting out a slight difference of opinion between the software and the new, locally made ZF automatic gearboxes it's supposed to be controlling, Chrysler's redesigned Jeep Cherokee - reviving that nameplate in North America - finally started shipping this week. That's just one of several new US models I'd like to get my mitts on but the chances are unlikely.

Faurecia - Q3 sales up.

Isuzu - eyeing opportunity in Africa.

In contrast, the gloom over Antwerp (RIP GM plant) and Genk (RIP Ford) has now, finally, extended to PSA's Citroen C3 plant in Aulnay, where the door shut today after 40 years and 8.5m-odd cars. Necessary, PSA claims. Sad for all those workers let go.

There was a similar poignant air around Longbridge, Birmingham, one night this week, as I trundled through in a press office supplied Nissan Juke powered by the superb Alliance 1.5-litre turbodiesel.

The Austin/BMC/MG Rover Longbridge factory complex once attracted visitors from other automakers worldwide to admire such innovations as rotary dipping to ensure even undercoat distribution, underground body and parts transfer tunnels, parts grouped for lineside delivery by destination car, and so on.

Today, the vast body in white plants, body conveyor over the main A38 road, and multiple paint shops and assembly halls, still standing when I returned to the UK in the mid-1990s, are now mostly cleared 'redevelopment' lots, piles of rubble, some new buildings for a university, a 'technology park', a hotel and a supermarket. What little remains of 'The Austin' is now the final assembly building and administrative HQ of SAIC's MG UK operation, just a shadow of what once went before.

It's the same over in Coventry - Triumph Canley is a mix of business park, big box stores and a supermarket, the one time Humber foundry and parts factory site is PSA's new UK HQ, a spare parts depot and a huge new housing estate, the once vast Massey-Fergusson site is slowly being turned into housing and small industrial units - and that's just in my neck of the woods. There are many other such sites in the rest of the UK and dotted across the US, Canada and even Australia - the once vast, full manufacturing, Leyland Australia site in Zetland eventually housed Sydney 2000 Olympics athletes and, today, a corner is home to a flagship Audi dealership.

In recent decades, so much automaking has gone east, south or into emerging markets, taking a lot of jobs with it.

Still, mustn't be too gloomy - there's more 'up' than 'down' in most of the autobiz news we cover these days - and it's the weekend at last. Have a nice one.

Graeme Roberts - Deputy Editor - just-auto.com