Unsurprisingly, American car makers have felt a bit left out in the forthcoming $700bn US government spending spree. The bosses of Ford, GM and Chrysler met with President Bush in 2006, in an attempt to get some state support for their businesses. But the fact that the both parties did no more than 'welcome the dialogue' shows that they came away empty handed.

Now things may be a bit different. But should they be? The US people probably won't feel much throwing a large number of greenbacks at their motor industry but, in a sign that it is not prepared to hang around waiting for support, GM has drawn its last $3.5bn of funding. Given its current reputation for burning through money, that won't last long. After that it's government support or nothing.

None of this will come as much surprise to the high-ups in Washington. In fact, packaged with the draft legislation that Congress is due to consider this week is a proposal for $25bn of low-interest loans for the country's car makers - Ford, GM and Chrysler. Considering that none of them is able to borrow except at exceptionally high rates, that’s some kind of support.