We journalists are starting to feel the pinch too, and not just because magazines have had their already-tight budgets slashed. Until recently, all I had to do to get a car parked outside my house for a week with a tank full of fuel was to make a quick call. Now we're being asked to go and physically collect cars to save on delivery costs. New car launches are still being held but getting on the invite list may involve you giving up a kidney.
The thing is, I've never been even slightly interested in small, frugal motor cars built for the urban environment. I love expensive, powerful, sexy cars. And this puts writers like me in an unenviable predicament. We're watching the industry that we love, the industry that provides us with a living, going down the toilet and there's nothing we can do about it.
So we'll keep bringing you stories about cars that make no sense whatsoever. We'll keep enthralling you with descriptions about how these fabulous, wondrous European machines feel and sound from behind the wheel. We'll do this every month, selflessly, for as long as the companies that design and build our dreams have some sort of life-force keeping them propped up. And we'll keep doing this because the world would be an even sadder place without them.
It's not all doom and gloom here in Europe, however. Speaking with a friend who works at Lotus earlier this very day, she was remarkably happy about the company she works for. She reckons that Lotus, being a niche manufacturer with an engineering arm that's always in strong demand, is perfectly placed to weather the storm, and she's probably right.
Perhaps as a result of all this paring back to the bones, we'll be left with Bentleys, Porsches, Audis, Astons et al, that are leaner, not only as companies, but also as products. Lightweight sports cars are the best sports cars, not only for our wallets but for the planet, and the thought of an Audi RS6 or Bentley Continental that doesn't weigh two tons is an appealing one on many levels. Is the age of excess over? I for one sincerely hope so.