When Xchanging compiled an overview of the automotive industry over a year ago, it was a scene of devastation.
The impact of the 2008 financial crash had spread shock and awe throughout the sector with the US government having to bail out Detroit's Big Three and the futures of both Ford and Chrysler look deeply uncertain too.
It is therefore with a certain sense of relief that we can say that the industry somehow managed to survive - and, in some cases, even thrive.
The recovery of the automotive sector has been driven by radical restructuring with an emphasis on strategic mergers and acquisitions.
Even in mature markets, a recovery in production and sales has also been discernible in place of what was until recently widespread factory closures and short time working.
UK car sales rose by 9.3% in July 2012 compared to July 2011, which was the fifth consecutive month of year on year volume growth. Overall in the first seven months of 2012, new car sales rose 3.5% compared to the same period in the preceding year.1
Putting these figures in context, a report2 from KPMG sets out a quite remarakable change of fortune whereby automotive manufacturing is forecast to grow 9% per year to 2.2 million vehicles in 2016, £3 billion of supply opportunities is identified for UK-based businesses, and workforce flexibility is credited as core to the country's success.
Turning to emerging markets, they proved resilient during the worst of the recession as highlighted by the fact that in December 2008, for the first time ever, there were more cars sold in China than in the United States3.
In the intervening period, whilst growth in China remains strong, there are signs it may be stalling some of the other emerging markets. Figures from the Society of Indian Auto Manufacturers showed sales of passenger cars rose 7% per cent in July from the month before, below analysts' predictions. Sales of utility vehicles and two-wheelers also slowed sharply4.
One wild card which definitely affected business for global automotive makers was the Japanese earthquake and tsunami of March 2011.
As US news programmes quickly picked up, the shock waves which hit the islands of Japan also rocked the automotive industry across the globe as Toyota, Honda, Nissan and others suspended production and assembly plants worldwide found their supplies interrupted due to power outages at Japanese factories.
A sobering reminder, perhaps, that economics isn't the only powerful force shaping our individual and collective destinies.
1 SOURCE: The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)