Review of the Year 2009 - part one

Richard Bremner

You'd have no idea that there was a global recession on if you looked at nothing but a list of all the new cars launched during 2009. Supercars, superminis, sports cars, SUVs – they all poured out of the planet's car factories, even if many have been on short-time working or simply idle.

Why all this new product during such a savage downturn? Because cars take three to five years to develop, all these were conceived in the good times and it's generally cheaper to launch a new model than it is to kill it after the colossally expensive tooling has been paid for. That said, Honda strangled its NSX supercar at birth, figuring that such a machine sent out the wrong message in these straitened times.

That's quite a loss for car-nuts, but there were plenty of compensations, not least from Porsche, which announced the Panamera, upgraded the Boxster and Cayman and unleashed an assortment of 911 variations, including the superb GT2 and GT3, a new Turbo and the intriguing but over-priced Sport Classic. More exciting was the Boxster Spyder – and all this while it attempted to swallow VW. Instead, it has become a morsel for Wolfsburg.