It seems that lots of your ears pricked up at Renault’s very interesting comment that its future cars, starting with the new Renault Clio 4, needed to be “German first and French second”.

Well, it’s a theme of the industry at present, it seems. I’m just back from watching the unveil of the new Cadillac ATS on the eve of the Detroit motor show, a General Motors back-slapping exercise where there wasn’t a single star or stripe in sight. Instead, Germany was the country of the lips of every GM executive.

Essentially, GM believes that if Cadillac is ever going to hold a candle to the likes of BMW, Audi and Mercedes, then its cars need to be ‘German first and American second’.

GM’s North American chief Mark Reuss gave a rousing speech where he declared that the ATS was the car that will “take on the Germans at their own game and win. It will meet or beat the best competition in every single way”.

Rousing stuff indeed. Reuss wasn’t the only one. Cadillac’s marketing chief, Don Butler, essentially conceded that Cadillac had never been taken seriously in the executive segment as “the only cars that have had sustained success there are European – and German”. “Seriously competing in these segments is a major challenge,” he added.