As you read this the US Congress and the White House – still under the control of George W – are conducting hand-to-hand policy combat over the details of a bill which will see $15bn handed over to GM and Chrysler to prevent their immediate collapse.

Ford, for the moment, may not ask for a loan, though it might, next year, ask for a ‘line of credit’ as a fall-back.

However, this is no British Leyland-style hand-out.

As it stands, the strings attached to this loan are extraordinarily detailed and restrictive.

First off, the US government will appoint a ‘car Czar’ (either a single officer or group) to oversee the rescue plan and dole out the loans.

This Czar also will have the right to veto any transaction over $25m carried out by the car makers, and also will have to be supplied with any ‘information demanded’.