Imagine being stuck on a desert island for five years and then trying to get your head around today’s global car industry - it would be like returning to a parallel universe. Things have changed so quickly you really couldn’t make it up.

Take Fiat, a car maker that GM was fighting not to own in 2005. Now it could soon be the world’s second largest car maker, having turned on the American giant and cherry picked the best bits, including perhaps Vauxhall.

Then there is Citroen, a firm that lost its mojo in the nineties and ended up rebadging old Peugeot 106s. Now it wants to become Europe’s third-largest brand, according to its boss Jean-Marc Gales.

Take Porsche, a huge success story after suffering from an eighties hangover. Things were so good that it went after Volkswagen. Then it ran up huge debts in the process and a merger suddenly seemed like a better option.Citroen targets the top three

Remember Pontiac? Oh, they’re gone. And Saab is in limbo, a Chinese company makes nineties MGs and sells them back to us and Tata, which gave us the City Rover, now owns Jaguar.

It’s fascinating for us, and no doubt terrifying for car companies, that things can change so quickly. It is enough to make your head spin. The one thing it teaches us is never get to complacent. Oh, and don’t give up hope.