West Midland car manufacturing still strong
I spend much of working life trying to keep track of two key strands to the industrial and financial life of this country.
Wearing my Birmingham Post automotive correspondent's hat I report on a manufacturing sector that, despite what the cynics and doom-mongers say, is still a vital element of the manufacturing base both of the West Midlands and the UK as a whole as well as the regional and national economy.
There are some out there who simply cannot understand why Britain is still making motor cars in the 21st century.
Yes, we have lost Longbridge, Ryton and Browns Lane as major carmaking sites. But Jaguar and Land Rover (albeit perhaps soon in Indian ownership) remain at the heart of the industry.
Further afield, but of importance to our automotive supply companies, are Toyota at Burnaston, Mini at Oxford, and Honda at Swindon. Throw in smaller operations such as LDV's van plant in Birmingham and LTI's taxi plant at Coventry and a picture of a diverse and and reasonably healthy automotive sector emerges.
But, and it is admittedly a big "but", all of these operations have to pay their way in a global economy in which boundaries and dissolving and technology transfer is swift and seamless.
The next few years are likely to prove to be crucial for this fascinating industry of industries.
Meanwhile, as the Post's personal finance editor I am watching with some trepidation as the economic boom shows signs of fizzling out and the inability of the Government to cope with problems such as the collapse of Northern Rock becomes ever more apparent.
If you are paying off a mortgage, owe a bit on your credit cards and rely on an overdraft facility to get you through the month, be afraid.