And now for something completely the same: the latest report from Jato Dynamics on the state of the European new car sales shows a market struggling.
It's down six percent in June against a slow June market last year. So it's further down.
Surprised? No, of course not. Nearly every jurisdiction in Europe is in some kind of shyte, the only variable is the depth.
The so-called PIIGS - Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain? Well, they're up to their necks in it, and it's not a pretty sight.
Greece takes the cigar, its new car sales are down 43.3 percent against June last year.
And fellow-traveller in the same hand-cart, Ireland, is down 42.1 percent. Portugal is down 37.0 percent, Italy down 24.5 percent, and Spain - here's a bright spot - it's only down 12.3 percent.
But spreading the love is Romania, down 32.5 percent, and Finland (Finland? Can that be right?), it's down 31.2 percent.
And ditto by greater and lesser margins are Croatia, Slovenia, Cypress and a host of other smaller Euro economies.
The light on the horizon is that the giant economies of Germany, France and the UK are showing signs of holding the line. Maybe even stuttering into some kind of recovery and improved consumer sentiment.
In June, German buyers snapped up 296,722 new cars, up 2.9 percent in a 'down market', but up at least. So too Great Britain with 189,514 registrations in June, and up 3.5 percent.
France, with 208,909 new car sales for June, was down just 0.6 percent.
This, at least, is cause for some optimism; maybe the smelly tide of debt and sovereign profligacy that has taken Europe to the brink, and the overwhelming gloom and ruination that has paralysed consumers, is beginning to recede.
And while the brown ring is still visible, it might now be dropping enough to at least allow a quick breath without swallowing something unintended. This, at least, we might hope.
Top Ten brands - June 2012
While Audi, Europe’s number one premium brand, showed the strongest growth within the top ten, up 8.1 percent against June last year, the big story is outside the top ten.
Fiat, in particular, will soon be taking nervous glances over its shoulder. (And imagine that, if the former colossus of the Mediterranean was to be bumped out of the top ten by one of the Korean usurpers).
Top Ten Cars - June 2012
Again, no surprises with this group.
Volkswagen’s Golf has been at the top of the tree since the dawn of time (or possibly earlier). It’s down, but by just 4.2 percent, and with 39,811 sales for the month holds a 25 percent margin over second-placed Corsa on 29,490 sales.
And while the Euro new car market might be something of a septic tank, not all have slipped below the swell.
Swimming on manfully in fifth place is Renault’s stylish Megane, it’s up 3.5 percent for June, and in ninth and tenth places, Nissan’s Qashqai (Dualis) and BMW’s 3 Series, are up a healthy 15.9 and 18.7 percent respectively.
So there we have it.
- Tim O'Brien
TMR Managing Editor