The most recent car production figures are at their most illuminative.
They show that despite the setbacks we remain a significant producer but also why our remaining plants are so vulnerable.
We may have lost MG Rover, Jaguar's Browns Lane factory and soon Peugeot at Ryton, but much of what is left is doing the businesses.
The number of cars produced last month actually inched up by 0.2 per cent to 132,293 which in some ways is pretty remarkable.
All right, the year to date figure is 6.3 per cent down at 660,189 but the sector is holding up well. For that we have to thank the likes of Land Rover, Toyota and Mini.
Mini in particular, which you can argue is the last legacy of Longbridge, has been a huge success story.
And all credit to BMW for producing a model which is arguably better and with as much appeal as the original.
Given the state it had reached - old, tired and desperately in need of some tender loving care - there had to be question marks over whether it could be revived.
But it just shows that if you build the right cars and you build them well enough the public will still buy them.
The downside to the figures though is the numbers going for export - 80 per cent is now being shipped abroad. That in one way is good, indeed excellent news for our dire balance of payments in trade. But it continues to put the sector under pressure. Why build cars here when the demand is elsewhere? Transport costs to market are a major consideration.
And in the cut-throat car industry of today there can be no ties to historic loyalties or the fate of workforces, as we are seeing at Ryton where a profitable factory is being sacrificed so as to make even more money in Slovakia.
Because if you don't take the hard decisions then the rest of the industry will brutally undercut you. Success is only ever relative when it comes to the auto world.
As silly as the city region debate has become over what we should call the new entity if it ever happens - which I hope it won't though admittedly it looks likely - there is perhaps a further debate we should have.
Should we re-name Birmingham? Well, come on, I said it was all getting silly so why not explore the option?
The unspoken truth is that Birmingham is a user unfriendly name. It simply has too many syllables in it.
It doesn't trip of the tongue like London and Leeds.
It makes life difficult for headline writers; one reason why Birmingham never gets a fair show from the London-orientated media outlets.
Cities all over the world have changed their names in recent years - Peking to Beijing, Bombay to Mumbai.
It is really quite common. So why doesn't timid Birmingham take a lead from the rest of the world.
We could become Central or perhaps some new invented word like Winna.
Or perhaps we just shorten the name to Birm.
Come on, let's dump Birmingham. It would be a radical statement of intent. And just think of the publicity.