Also under the cosh this week is Ford which announced losses of a truly enormous £6.5 billion, the worst in its 103 year history. A few more sets of figures like that and the maker of the Cortina, Escort and Capri will be also be history. Like the paint on a venerable Model T the future looks black in Dearborn, Michigan. How on earth that mighty contributor to the history of the automobile got into this mess is a grim tale of blind complacency.
Ford is pinning its hopes for salvation in the domestic market on a new F-series Super
Duty pick-up truck. We've just had a look at this lumbering, gas-swilling monster - many of which will never take on duties more onerous than popping down to WalMart - on the Ford website. It has a 6.8 litre V10 petrol engine and comes with a fuel tank that carries up to 59 gallons. But nowhere could we find any reference to the rate at which it drinks the stuff.
Sometimes the whole US car industry looks blissfully unaware that it's three minutes to midnight and they are simply fiddling while the gasoline burns. Even the nation's president, George Bush (an ex-oil man and no-one's idea of a tree-hugger), has said that America needs to cut its petrol consumption by 20% in the next 10 years.