So, President Obama has been in office for 12 months, and the great global slowdown is over a year old. Newspapers and city analysts are on their knees looking for the green shoots of recovery.

chrysler--headquarters What does the US domestic car industry look like? Well, it now seems – barring a last-minute disaster – that GM will buy 90 percent of Chrysler.

Even so, by January 2010 GM-Chrysler will certainly still be in intensive care. That won't be a joke for the thousands of workers in the US who are currently staring out of the window, wondering if they will be swept away in the great auto-restructuring of 2009.

With 11 brands and much more capacity than it needs, GM-Chrysler will have the almost unimaginably complex job of closing factories, axing whole model lines and deciding which Chrysler-era models should survive for a new life as part of the GM global platform strategy.

The Viper brand and factory, for example, are already on the sales block, but the logic behind axing a brand like Dodge is much trickier.

One advantage of folding the Chrysler models into the GM family is that factories will run closer to full capacity, putting profitability much nearer.