Friday - If you want the best job done, they say, do it yourself. Having spent time with various Peugeot officials this week, I now see that this is the vital, simple decision they took in 2009-10, when the recession was biting hardest, and nearly everything that has happened to the company since has been improved by it.

With insight born of near-catastrophe, Peugeot bosses realised their only hope lay in reconfiguring the company to make world-beating products more economically and selling most of them outside Europe. For five years they have diligently backing these landmark decisions with action - and it is working.

If you are guided only by the ebb and flow of daily financial news, it’s easy to get confused about Peugeot’s place in the world. In recent times we’ve had headlines about scary sales declines, a stuttering co-operative deal with GM (a difficult partner, to say the least), and plans for home market plant closures that have riled the French government and led to unjustified personal attacks on the outgoing CEO, Philippe Varin. 

The latest thread is that the Peugeot family will soon lose control of the group it has built over 200 years — for the good reasons that its all-important Chinese partner DongFeng, and the French government, will take take bigger stakes in a move to raise the £3 billion Peugeot needs for recovery and expansion. (Not that we should worry excessively for the Peugeots, a family of remarkably cordial and unaffected people. They’ll still control 15 per cent of an improving multi-national, plus of course the name).