For what it is worth, I thought VW struck exactly the right note ahead of the Paris motor show - although I suppose they have had 12 months in which to work out what the right tone is.

The presentation - made by CEO Matthias Müller and VW Group Design boss Michael Mauer - was succinct and made from a simple, low stage in front of a relatively modest screen. There were no apologies for Dieselgate this time round, but finally here was a room that reeked of humility and a fresh new start.

The presentation revolved around three key points. Firstly, a 13th VW Group brand is being created to focus on future mobility projects. Secondly, despite the electric push, conventional powertrains have 20 years at least to live. Thirdly, to quote Mauer, “Design will be a key factor in deciding which brands are to survive.”

Bold statements, all three, and all delivered with conviction and determination rather than any hint of over-confidence. Müller even concluded with the summation: “Not all of our initiatives will be a success. We will fail - but the important thing is to learn from our failures. Not to try would leave us as onlookers in a world moving at breath-taking speed.” Not words I can imagine Martin Winterkorn having uttered in public.

And then a short film played, showing a futuristic townscape and giving a far-reaching view of the shapes and styles of how the cars of the future may look. Pie in the sky it may have been, but it is sobering that scenes that just three years ago would have looked like the modern equivalent of a Jetsons episode now feel entirely plausible.

The past 12 months have - rightly - left VW Group in the darkest of dark places. But I can’t help feeling that the shock of the crisis may be viewed by history as the catalyst that changed both them and the car industry as a whole.

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