Some of you – indeed, probably quite a few of you – might never have heard of German Porsche tuner 9ff, but this week it ceased trading, sadly. 

Having produced a series of highly credible, astonishingly powerful, though admittedly rather expensive cars based on various Porsches – most famous of which was the 1000bhp GT9 based on the 997 911 – they called in the administrators this week. Which effectively means game over, thank you for playing.

But 9ff is not the only German tuning company to go bump of late. A few months ago the highly regarded Wiesmann car company went to the wall, as did Gumpert a few weeks later.

Gumpert, you might recall, made the Apollo, which may not have been the most beautiful-looking creation but was, again, extremely well respected technically. It was the brainchild of Roland Gumpert, who was once the main source of genius behind Audi’s world rallying campaigns.

Why, then, are all these excellent but small German car companies and tuning houses going bust?

In Gumpert’s case, an unwise and not especially well thought out foray into the Chinese market would appear to be the main cause of the problem. And in Gumpert’s case alone, the administrators might not be done just yet, the company having regrouped and ditched the Chinese assault in order to concentrate on the European market instead. At the moment it’s a 'watch this space' kind of scenario.