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British Leyland

british leyland, british leyland signs
British Leyland was an automotive engineering and manufacturing conglomerate formed in the United Kingdom in 1968 as British Leyland Motor Corporation Ltd BLMC, following the merger of Leyland Motors and British Motor Holdings It was partly nationalised in 1975, when the UK government created a holding company called British Leyland, later BL, in 197812 It incorporated much of the British-owned motor vehicle industry, which constituted 40 percent of the UK car market,3 with roots going back to 1895

Despite containing profitable marques such as Jaguar, Rover and Land Rover, as well as the best-selling Mini, British Leyland had a troubled history4 In 1986 it was renamed as the Rover Group, later to become MG Rover Group, which went into administration in 2005, bringing mass car production by British-owned manufacturers to an end MG and the Austin, Morris and Wolseley marques became part of China's SAIC, with whom MG Rover attempted to merge prior to administration

Today, MINI, Jaguar Land Rover and Leyland Trucks now owned by BMW Group, TATA and Paccar, respectively are the three most prominent former parts of British Leyland which are still active in the automotive industry, with SAIC-owned MG Motor continuing a small presence at the Longbridge site Certain other related ex-BL businesses, such as Unipart, continue to operate independently

Contents

  • 1 History
    • 11 1970s restructuring
      • 111 BLCV
      • 112 BL Ltd
    • 12 Jaguar divested & Austin Rover Group
    • 13 Rover Group sale
    • 14 Ashok Leyland
  • 2 Timelines
    • 21 Notes for the timeline table
    • 22 Merged companies
    • 23 Other merger events
    • 24 Divestments
    • 25 Notable BL and BMC and related models
    • 26 Competing models
    • 27 Badge-engineered models
  • 3 Factories
    • 31 Volume car production plants
    • 32 Truck and bus plants
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links

Historyedit

BLMC share

BLMC was created on 17 January 1968 by the merger of British Motor Holdings BMH and Leyland Motor Corporation LMC,5 encouraged by Tony Benn as chairman of the Industrial Reorganisation Committee created by the Wilson Government 1964–19703 At the time, LMC was a successful manufacturer, while BMH which was the product of an earlier merger between the British Motor Corporation, Pressed Steel and Jaguar was perilously close to collapse The Government was hopeful LMC's expertise would revive the ailing BMH, and effectively create a "British General Motors" The merger combined most of the remaining independent British car manufacturing companies and included car, bus and truck manufacturers and more diverse enterprises including construction equipment, refrigerators, metal casting companies, road surface manufacturers; in all, nearly 100 different companies The new corporation was arranged into seven divisions under its new chairman, Sir Donald Stokes formerly the chairman of LMC

1962 Austin Cambridge

While BMH was the UK's largest car manufacturer producing over twice as many cars as LMC, it offered a range of dated vehicles, including the Morris Minor which was introduced in 1948 and the Austin Cambridge and Morris Oxford, which dated back to 1959 Although BMH had enjoyed great success in the 1960s with both the Mini and the 1100/1300, both cars were infamously underpriced and despite their pioneering but unproven front wheel drive engineering, warranty costs had been crippling and had badly eroded those models' profitability After the merger, Lord Stokes was horrified to find that BMH had no plans to replace the elderly designs in its portfolio Also, BMH's design efforts immediately prior to the merger had focused on unfortunate niche market models such as the Austin Maxi which was underdeveloped and with an appearance hampered by using the doors from the larger Austin 1800 and the Austin 3 litre, a car with no discernible place in the market

Triumph GT6 Mk III

BMH had produced several successful cars, such as the Mini and the Austin/Morris 1100/1300 range which at the time was the UK's biggest selling car While these cars had been advanced at the time of their introduction, the Mini was not highly profitable and the 1100/1300 was facing more modern competition

The lack of attention to development of new mass-market models meant that BMH had nothing in the way of new models in the pipeline to compete effectively with popular rivals such as Ford's Escort and Cortina

Immediately, Lord Stokes instigated plans to design and introduce new models quickly The first result of this crash programme was the Morris Marina in early 1971 It used parts from various BL models with new bodywork to produce BL's mass-market competitor It was one of the strongest-selling cars in Britain during the 1970s, although by the end of production in 1980 it was widely regarded as a dismal product that had damaged the company's reputation The Austin Allegro replacement for the 1100/1300 ranges, launched in 1973, earned a similarly unwanted reputation over its 10-year production life

1975 Austin 1800

The company became an infamous monument to the industrial turmoil that plagued Britain in the 1970s Industrial action instigated by militant shop stewards frequently brought BL's manufacturing capability to its knees Despite the duplication of production facilities as a result of the merger, there were multiple single points of failure in the company's production network which meant that a strike in a single plant could stop many of the others Both Ford and General Motors had mitigated against this years before by merging their previously separate British and German subsidiaries and product lines Ford had created Ford of Europe, whilst GM nurtured closer collaboration between Vauxhall Motors and Opel, so that production could be sourced from either British or Continental European plants in the event of industrial unrest The upshot was that both Ford and Vauxhall ultimately overtook BL to become Britain's two best selling marques, a title they hold to the present day At the same time, a tide of Japanese imports, spearheaded by Nissan Datsun and Toyota exploited both BL's inability to supply its customers and its declining reputation for quality – by the end of the 1970s, the British government had introduced protectionist measures in the form of import quotas on Japanese manufacturers in order to protect the ailing domestic producers both BL and Chrysler Europe, which it was helping to sustain

At its peak, BLMC owned almost 40 manufacturing plants across the country Even before the merger BMH had included theoretically competing marques that were in fact selling substantially similar "badge engineered" cars The British Motor Corporation had never properly integrated either the dealer networks or the production facilities of Austin and Morris This had been done partly to appease poor industrial relations - workers at Cowley for example still perceived themselves as "Morris" employees and still, therefore they refused to assemble cars badged as Austins, and the converse was true at the former Austin plant at Longbridge The upshot was that both plants were producing badge engineered models of otherwise identical cars so that each network would have a product to sell This meant that Austin and Morris still, to an extent, competed with each other and meant that each product was saddled with effectively twice the logistics, marketing and distribution costs that it would have if sold under a single name or if production of a single model platform was concentrated in one factory Although BL did eventually end the wasteful double sourcing - for example production of the Mini and the 1100/1300 was concentrated at Longbridge, whilst the 1800 and Austin Maxi ranges moved to Cowley, the production of sub assemblies as well as component suppliers were scattered all over the Midlands which greatly increased the cost of keeping the factories running

BMH and Leyland Motors had expanded and acquired companies throughout the 1950s and 1960s in order to compete with one other, with the result that when the two conglomerates were brought together into BL there was even more internal competition Rover competed with Jaguar at the expensive end of the market, and Triumph with its family cars and sports cars against Austin, Morris and MG

Individual model lines that were similarly sized were therefore competing against each other, yet were never discontinued nor were model ranges rationalised quickly enough; in fact the policy of having multiple models competing in the same market segment continued long after the merger – for instance BMH's MGB remained in production alongside LMC's Triumph TR6, the Rover P5 competed with the Jaguar XJ, whilst in the medium family sector, the Princess was in direct competition with upscale versions of the Morris Marina and cheaper versions of the Austin Maxi, meaning that economies of scale resulting from large production runs could never be realised In addition, in consequent attempts to establish British Leyland as a brand in consumers' minds in and outside the UK, print ads and spots were produced, causing confusion rather than attraction for buyers

BL marketing and management attempted to draw more obvious distinctions between the marques – most notable was the decision to pitch Morris as a maker of conventional mass-market cars to compete with Ford and Vauxhall and Austin to continue BMC's line of advanced family cars with front-wheel drive and fluid suspension This resulted in the Morris Marina and the Austin Allegro The policy's success was mixed Since the dealership network was still not sufficiently rationalised it meant that Austin and Morris dealers which had, in BMC/BMH days, each offered a full range of cars both advanced and traditional had their product range halved and found that they could no longer cater to many previously loyal customers' tastes The policy was also carried out hapzardly: The advanced, Hydragas-sprung Princess began life in 1975 sold as an Austin, a Morris and a Wolseley before being rebadged altogether under the new Princess name The Princess and the Mini, which BL also turned into a marque in its own right was sold across the Austin-Morris dealership network, making any distinction between the two even more vague to many customers

The company also wasted many of its scant funds on concepts, like the Rover P8 or P9,6 that would never be produced to earn money for the company

These internal issues, which were never satisfactorily solved, combined with serious industrial relations problems with trade unions, the 1973 oil crisis, the three-day week, high inflation, and ineffectual management meant that BL became an unmanageable and financially crippled behemoth which went bankrupt in 1975

1970s restructuringedit

1976 Leyland National

Sir Don Ryder was asked to undertake an enquiry into the position of the company, and his report, The Ryder Report, was presented to the government in April 1975 Following the report's recommendations, the organisation was drastically restructured and the Labour Government 1974–1979 took control by creating a new holding company British Leyland Limited BL of which the government was the major shareholder, effectively nationalising the company7 Between 1975 and 1980 these shares were vested in the National Enterprise Board which had responsibility for managing this investment The company was now organised into the following four divisions:8

  • Leyland Cars later BL Cars – the largest car manufacturer in the UK, employing some 128,000 people at 36 locations, and with a production capacity of one million vehicles per year BL Cars was subdivided into two divisions; Austin-Morris, catering for the mass market volume models, and Jaguar-Rover-Triumph JRT which concentrated on performance/luxury models
  • Leyland Truck and Bus – the largest commercial and passenger vehicle manufacturer in the UK, employing 31,000 people at 12 locations, producing 38,000 trucks, 8,000 buses including a joint venture with the National Bus Company and 19,000 tractors per year The tractors were based on the Nuffield designs, but built in a plant in Bathgate, Scotland
British Leyland 270 tractor fitted with aftermarket loader in the USA
  • Leyland Special Products – the miscellaneous collection of other acquired businesses, itself structured into five sub-divisions:
    • Construction Equipment – Aveling-Barford, Aveling-Marshall, Barfords of Belton and Goodwin-Barsby
    • Refrigeration – Prestcold
    • Materials Handling – Coventry Climax incorporating Climax Trucks, Climax Conveyancer and Climax Shawloader
    • Military Vehicles – Alvis and Self-Changing Gears
    • Print – Nuffield Press which printed the company's publications and Lyne & Son
  • Leyland International – responsible for the export of cars, trucks and buses, and responsible for manufacturing plants in Africa, India and Australia, employing 18,000 people
1977 Rover SD1

There was positive news for BL at the end of 1976 when its new Rover SD1 executive car was voted European Car of the Year, having gained plaudits for its innovative design The SD1 was actually the first step that British Leyland took towards rationalising its passenger car ranges, as it was a single car replacing two cars competing in the same sector: the Rover P6 and Triumph 2000 More positive news for the company came at the end of 1976 with the approval by Industry Minister Eric Varley of a £140 million investment of public money in refitting the Longbridge plant for production of the company's "ADO88" Mini replacement model, due for launch in 19799 However, poor results from customer clinics of the ADO88, coupled with the UK success of the Ford Fiesta, launched in 1976, forced a snap redesign of ADO88 which evolved into the "LC8" project – eventually launched as the Austin Mini Metro in 1980

In 1977 Sir Michael Edwardes was appointed chief executive10 by the NEB and Leyland Cars was split up into Austin Morris the volume car business and Jaguar Rover Triumph JRT the specialist or upmarket division Austin Morris included MG Land Rover and Range Rover were later separated from JRT to form the Land Rover Group JRT later split up into Rover-Triumph and Jaguar Car Holdings which included Daimler

BLCVedit

Coventry Climax forklift truck

In 1978 the company formed a new group for its commercial vehicle interests, BL Commercial Vehicles BLCV under managing director David Abell The following companies moved under this new umbrella:

  • Leyland Vehicles Limited trucks, tractors and buses
  • Alvis Limited military vehicles
  • Coventry Climax fork lift trucks and specialist engines
  • Self-Changing Gears Limited heavy-duty transmissions

BLCV and the Land Rover Group later merged to become Land Rover Leyland

BL Ltdedit

In 1979 British Leyland Ltd was renamed to simply BL Ltd later BL plc and its subsidiary which acted as a holding company for all the other companies within the group The British Leyland Motor Corporation Ltd to BLMC Ltd11

1983 Austin Metro

BL's fortunes took another much-awaited rise in October 1980 with the launch of the Austin Metro initially named the Mini Metro, a modern three-door hatchback which gave buyers a more modern and practical alternative to the iconic but ageing Mini This went on to be one of the most popular cars in Britain of the 1980s Towards the final stages of the Metro's development, BL entered into an alliance with Honda to provide a new mid-range model which would replace the ageing Triumph Dolomite, but would more crucially act as a stop-gap until the Austin Maestro and Montego were ready for launch This car would emerge as the Triumph Acclaim in 1981, and would be the first of a long line of collaborative models jointly developed between BL and Honda

A rationalisation of the model ranges also took place around this time In 1980, British Leyland was still producing four cars in the large family car sector—the Princess 2, Austin Maxi, Morris Marina and Triumph Dolomite The Marina became the Ital in August 1980 following a superficial facelift, and a year later the Princess 2 received a major upgrade to become the Austin Ambassador, meaning that the 1982 range had just two competitors in this sector In April 1984, these cars were discontinued to make way for a single all-new model, the Austin Montego The Triumph Acclaim was replaced in that same year by another Honda-based product – the Rover 200-series

Jaguar divested & Austin Rover Groupedit

Jaguar XJ-S

By 1982 the BL Cars Ltd division renamed itself Austin Rover Group, shortly before the launch of the Austin Maestro and Michael Edwardes was replaced by Harold Musgrove as chairman and chief executive The emergence of the Austin Rover brand effectively put an end to the separate Austin-Morris and Jaguar-Rover-Triumph divisions, since by this time, Jaguar now resided in a separate company called Jaguar Car Holdings, and this was later de-merged from BL completely and privatised in 1984 That same year, with both the Morris Ital and the Triumph Acclaim being discontinued, their respective brands were effectively shelved, leaving only the Austin and Rover marques, whilst Land Rover moved into the Freight Rover Group alongside the light trucks division After the divestment of Unipart and the van, truck and bus divisions in 1987 see below, leaving just two subsidiaries - Austin Rover volume cars and Land Rover SUVs this essentially remained the basic structure of BL and subsequently the Rover Group until the 2000 break-up

Rover Group saleedit

1988 Range Rover

In 1986 Graham Day took the helm as chairman and CEO and the third joint Rover-Honda vehicle – the Rover 800-series – was launched which replaced the 10-year-old Rover SD1 Around the same time, BL changed its name to Rover Group and in 1987 the Trucks Division – Leyland Vehicles merged with the Dutch DAF company to form DAF NV, trading as Leyland DAF in the UK and as DAF in the Netherlands In 1987 the bus business was spun off into a new company called Leyland Bus This was the result of a management buyout who decided to sell the company to the Bus & Truck division of Volvo in 1988citation neededThat same year, the British government controversially tried to reprivatise and sell-off Land Rover, however this plan was later abandoned 1987 saw the Austin name dropped on the Metro, Maestro and Montego, signalling the end for the historic Austin marque, in a push to focus on the more prestigious and potentially more profitable Rover badge In 1988 the business was sold by the British Government to British Aerospace BAe, and shortly after shortened its name to just Rover Group They subsequently sold the business to BMW, which, after initially seeking to retain the whole business, decided to only retain the Cowley operations for MINI production and close the Longbridge factory Longbridge, along with the Rover and MG marques, was taken on by MG Rover which went into administration in April 2005

1985 Leyland T45 Cruiser

Many of the brands were divested over time and continue to exist on the books of several companies to this daycitation needed

Ashok Leylandedit

A present-day Ashok Leyland Truck in India

The Leyland name and logo continues as a recognised and respected marque across India, the wider subcontinent and parts of Africa in the form of Ashok Leyland Part of the giant Hinduja Group, Ashok Leyland manufactures buses, trucks, defence vehicles and engines The company is a leader in the heavy transportation sector within India and has an aggressive expansionary policy Ironically, since 1987, when the London-based Hinduja Group bought the Indian-based Ashok Leyland company, it is once again a British-owned brand Today, Ashok-Leyland is pursuing a joint venture with Nissan and through its acquisition of the Czech truck maker, Avia, is entering the European truck market directly With its purchase, in 2010, of a 25 per cent stake in UK-based bus manufacturer Optare, Ashok Leyland has taken a step closer to reconnecting with its British heritage, as Optare is a direct descendant of Leyland's UK bus-making division

British Leyland also provided the technical know-how and the rights to their Leyland 28 BHP tractor for Auto Tractors Limited, a tractor plant in Pratapgarh, Uttar Pradesh Established in 1981 with state support, ATL only managed to build 2,380 tractors by the time the project was ended in 1990 – less than the planned production for the first two years12 The project ended up being taken over by Sipani, who kept producing tractor engines and also a small number of tractors with some modest success13

Timelinesedit

Notes for the timeline tableedit

  • The car brands of BSA were divested, BSA was not merged into Jaguar
  • Mini was not originally a marque in its own right See Mini and MINI BMW for more detail
  • The BMC trademark is registered 1564704, E1118348 to MG Rover Group Ltd in the UK BMC is also the name of a commercial vehicle manufacturer in Turkey, formerly the Turkish subsidiary of the British Motor Corporation It is believed that Nanjing Automotive may have purchased this from MG Rover, however the brand has not been reassigned as of 17 July 2006
  • The Wolseley trademark is registered UK 1490228 to MG Rover Group Ltd for automobiles only It is believed that Nanjing Automotive may have purchased this from MG Rover, however the brand has not been reassigned as of July 2006 to a different company The UK building materials supplier Wolseley plc owns the rights to the Wolseley name for all other purposes Wolseley plc is a descendant of the original Wolseley company
  • The Vanden Plas trademark is owned by Ford through Jaguar for use within the USA and Canada, and as UK 1133528, E2654481 to MG Rover Group Ltd for use in the rest of the world It is believed that Nanjing Automotive may have purchased this from MG Rover, however the trademark has not been recorded as reassigned as of 17 July 2006 This is why Jaguar XJ Vanden Plas models are branded as Daimlers in Britain The last Rover to use the Vanden Plas name was the Rover 75 Vanden Plas, a long wheelbase limousine model
  • The Rover trademark was owned by BMW and was only licensed to MG Rover Group Ltd BMW sold the brand to Ford in September 2006
  • Alvis was purchased from British Leyland by United Scientific Holdings plc in 1981, in 2002 Alvis merged with part of Vickers Defence Systems to form Alvis Vickers which was purchased by BAE Systems in 2004 BAE Systems did not acquire Alvis through their ownership of the Rover Group in the early 1990s Production of Alvis branded cars ceased in 1967 The trademark is owned by Alvis Vehicles Ltd
  • The use of the Triumph name as a trademark for vehicles is shared between BMW and Triumph Motorcycles Ltd The former for automobiles and the latter for motorcycles The motorcycle and car business separated in the 1930s

Merged companiesedit

The car firms and car brands which eventually merged to form the company are as follows

The dates given are those of the first car of each name, but these are often debatable as each car may be several years in development

  • 1895 Wolseley Motors
  • 1896 Lanchester Motor Company
  • 1896 Leyland Motors Ltd commercial vehicles
  • 1896 Daimler
  • 1898 Riley
  • 1899 Albion
  • 1903 Standard Motor Company
  • 1904 Rover
  • 1905 Austin
  • 1912 Morris
  • 1913 Vanden Plas
  • 1919 Alvis
  • 1923 MG created by Morris
  • 1923 Triumph Motor Company
  • 1924 BSA used as a car brand
  • 1935 Jaguar
  • 1947 Land Rover created by Rover
  • 1952 Austin-Healey created by Austin division of BMC see below
  • 1959 Mini : the car initially launched as the Austin Seven and Morris Mini-Minor became popularly known just as the 'Mini' and BMC recognised this by re-badging the Austin as the Austin Mini British Leyland deleted both marque names from the car and creating Mini as a marque in its own right in 1969

Other merger eventsedit

Several of these names including Jaguar, Land Rover and Mini are now in other hands The history of the mergers and other key events is as follows:

  • 1910 Daimler merged with the BSA car armaments-and-motorbikes engineering company BSA last BSA car, 1939
  • 1931 Lanchester purchased by BSA/Daimler last Lanchester 1956
  • 1938 Morris Motors purchases Wolseley and Riley and from 1943 they are jointly referred to as the Nuffield Organisation
  • 1944 Standard acquires Triumph, forming Standard Triumph
  • 1946 Austin acquires Vanden Plas
  • 1951 Leyland Motors purchase the share capital of Albion Motors
  • 1952 Morris and Austin merge to form the British Motor Corporation BMC
  • 1955 Leyland Motors acquires Scammell Lorries Limited of Watford
  • 1960 Jaguar buys Daimler for the latter's production facilities
  • 1961 Leyland Motors acquires Standard Triumph
  • 1962 Leyland Motors acquires ACV, the renamed AEC Associated Equipment Company company
  • 1963 Jaguar acquires the engine and fork lift truck manufacturing company Coventry Climax
  • 1965 Rover acquires Alvis
  • 1966 Jaguar merged into BMC
  • 1966 BMC changes its name to British Motor Holdings BMH
  • 1967 Leyland absorbs Rover
  • 1968 Leyland merges with British Motor Holdings to form the British Leyland Motor Corporation BLMC
  • 1969 Joint venture with the National Bus Company to build Leyland National buses, and also to continue the manufacture of Bristol buses and Eastern Coach Works Bodies previously built by the NBC
  • 1970s Majority stake in Danish partner DAB, to form Leyland-DAB, producer of the Leyland-DAB articulated bus
  • 1972 BLMC takes control of Innocenti
  • 1974 Cessation of production of cars in Australia
  • 1975 Publication of the Ryder Report: British Leyland effectively was nationalised due to financial difficulties, with formation of new holding company, British Leyland Ltd, later BL plc, with the government as the principal but not the only shareholder
  • 1977 Michael Edwardes appointed as chairman by Labour Government; begins massive cull of excess BL assets
  • 1982 BL buys out the National Bus Company from the bus plant joint venture

Divestmentsedit

  • 1969 The last Riley Elf, 1300, and 4/72 models were built, thus ending the Riley marque
  • 1975 Innocenti passed to Alejandro de Tomaso
  • 1975 The final Wolseley, a Saloon, is built, thus ending the Wolseley marque
  • 1978 A further reorganisation sees Land Rover being separated from Rover, and established as a standalone company within BL Leyland Cars Ltd is renamed BL Cars Ltd, and is split into two divisions – Austin Morris and Jaguar Rover Triumph
  • 1979 Collaboration with Honda begins, sacking of Derek Robinson "Red Robbo"
  • 1978 Closure of Triumph assembly plant in Speke – production moved to Canley
  • 1980 Closure of MG and Triumph assembly plants in Abingdon and Canley
  • 1980 Vanden Plas is discontinued as a marque name but remains as a trim level name on selected models of other marques 14
  • 1981 Closure of Rover-Triumph plant in Solihull The first joint venture car with Honda - the Triumph Acclaim, goes into production at Cowley
  • 1981 Alvis sold to United Scientific Holdings and Alvis plc formed
  • 1981 Prestcold, the industrial refrigerator manufacturer is sold to Suter plc Assets ultimately now owned by Emerson Electric
  • 1982 Coventry Climax is de-merged and becomes a standalone company
  • 1982 The Princess marque, launched in 1975, is discontinued upon the launch of the Austin Ambassador
  • 1982 Michael Edwardes steps down as chairman; BL Cars Ltd renamed Austin Rover Group ARG
  • 1982 Leyland Tractors sold to Marshall Tractors, tractor production at Bathgate assembly plant ends
  • 1982 Production of British Leyland cars ceases in New Zealand
  • 1983 Closure of Bristol bus plant, production transferred to Leyland National plant at Workington
  • 1984 Morris Ital goes out of production, signalling the end of the Morris badge
  • 1984 Jaguar floated off including Daimler and the US rights to Vanden Plas; bought by Ford in 1989
  • 1984 Final Triumph Acclaim rolls off the production line, ending the Triumph name
  • 1985 Closure of Bathgate truck assembly plant Bathgate narrowly avoided a shut down in 1981, but instead became responsible for engine production and export market trucks Leyland's truck exports then proceeded to collapse as oil prices dropped, making the end inevitable15
  • 1986 BL plc renamed Rover Group plc, Austin badges disappear the following year
  • 1986 Leyland Bus floated off; bought by Volvo in 1988
  • 1987 Leyland Trucks division including Freight Rover vans merged with DAF to form DAF NV/Leyland DAF Vans became independent as LDV in 1993, as did Trucks as Leyland Trucks Leyland Trucks was taken over by US giant PACCAR in 1998 and integrated with Foden
  • 1987 Unipart, BL's spare parts division, acquired by management buy-out
  • 1988 Rover Group plc is privatised; sold to British Aerospace, and renames itself Rover Group Car Holdings Ltd; its two remaining subsidiaries being Austin Rover and Land Rover
  • 1989 The mass market car subsidiary, still named Austin Rover Group Ltd, shortens its name to simply Rover Group Ltd - thus ending the use of the Austin brand in the public domain
  • 1994 Rover Group Car Holdings Ltd sold to BMW, collaboration with Honda ends
  • 1994 Maestro and Montego go out of production
  • 1998 Metro/100-series goes out of production – the last of the former Austin models
  • 2000 BMW decides to break up and sell the Rover empire; Land Rover sold to Ford
  • 2000 BMW MINI, Triumph, and Riley trademarks retained by BMW, but BMW's other interests sold off
  • 2000 Remainder of company became independent as the MG Rover Group
  • 2007 MG Rover goes into administration with huge debts, and its assets are taken over by Nanjing Automobile Nanjing Automobile Corporation, NAC
  • 2007 SAIC takes over NAC and relaunches production at Longbridge
  • 2006 Ford acquires the rights to the Rover brand name from BMW, though without any immediate plans for using it on production cars16
  • 2008 Ford completes the sale of Jaguar, Rover and Land Rover to Tata Motors, of India

Notable BL and BMC and related modelsedit

A small British Leyland badge on one of their many products
  • 1948 Land Rover Rover
  • 1948 Morris Minor Nuffield
  • 1952 Rover 90 Rover
  • 1952 Morris Oxford MO BMC
  • 1954 Austin Cambridge BMC
  • 1959 Triumph Herald Standard-Triumph
  • 1959 Austin Gipsy BMC
  • 1959 Mini BMC; Initially badged as the Morris Mini-Minor and later Austin Se7en then Austin Mini
  • 1961 Jaguar E-type Jaguar
  • 1961 Riley Elf BMC
  • 1961 Wolseley Hornet BMC
  • 1961 Austin Healey Sprite BMC
  • 1961 MG Midget BMC
  • 1962 Triumph Spitfire Leyland-Triumph
  • 1962 Morris 1100 BMC
  • 1962 MG MGB BMC
  • 1963 Triumph 2000 Leyland-Triumph
  • 1964 Mini Moke BMC
  • 1964 Austin 1800/2200 BMC
  • 1964 Rover 2000 Rover
  • 1968 Jaguar XJ6 BLMC
  • 1969 Austin Maxi BLMC
  • 1970 Triumph Dolomite BLMC
  • 1970 Triumph Toledo BLMC
  • 1970 Range Rover BLMC
  • 1971 Morris Marina BLMC
  • 1971 Triumph Stag BLMC
  • 1973 Austin Allegro BLMC
  • 1973 Leyland P76 Leyland Motor Corporation of Australia
  • 1975 Princess BL
  • 1975 Triumph TR7 BL
  • 1975 Jaguar XJS BL
  • 1976–1987: Rover SD1 BL
  • 1980–1990: Austin Metro BL
  • 1980–1984: Morris Ital BL
  • 1981 Triumph Acclaim BL
  • 1982 Austin Ambassador ARG
  • 1983 Austin Maestro ARG
  • 1984 Austin Montego ARG
  • 1984 Rover 200-series ARG
  • 1986 Rover 800-series/Sterling ARG17

Competing modelsedit

In some cases, British Leyland continued to produce competing models from the merged companies at different sites for many years However, any benefits from the broader number of models were far outweighed by higher development costs and greatly reduced economies of scale

Sadly, potential benefits associated with rationalising parts usage were lost, as for example, the company made two completely different 13-litre engines BMC A series and the Triumph 13-litre, two different 15-litre engines BMC E series and Triumph, four different 2-litre engines 4-cylinder O series, 4-cylinder Triumph Dolomite, 4-cylinder Rover and 6-cylinder Triumph and two completely different V8 engines Triumph OHC 3-litre V8 and Rover 35-litre V8

Examples of competing cars were:

  • Morris Minor and Austin A40/Austin 1100
  • Austin 1300 and Triumph Herald/Triumph Toledo
  • Morris Marina, Austin Allegro, and Triumph Dolomite
  • Triumph 2000, Rover 2000, and Princess car
  • Triumph Spitfire, MG Midget and Austin-Healey Sprite
  • Triumph TR6/Triumph TR7 and MG MGB
  • Rover 3500 and Jaguar XJ6

Badge-engineered modelsedit

In contrast to the continued development of competing models, British Leyland continued the practice of badge engineering of models which had started under BMC; selling essentially the same vehicle under two or more different marques

  • Riley One-Point-Five/Wolseley 1500
  • MG Magnette ZA/ZB/Wolseley 4/44
  • MG Magnette ZB/Wolseley 15/50
  • Morris Oxford MO/Wolseley 4/50
  • Morris Six/Wolseley 6/80
  • Austin A99 Westminster/Wolseley 6/99
  • Austin A110 Westminster/Wolseley 6/110
  • Austin 1800/Morris 1800/Wolseley 18/85
  • Austin 2200/Morris 2200/Wolseley Six
  • Austin A55 Cambridge/MG Magnette Mk III/Morris Oxford V/Riley 4/68/Wolseley 15/60
  • Austin A60 Cambridge/MG Magnette Mk IV/Morris Oxford Farina VI/Riley 4/72/Wolseley 16/60
  • Riley Pathfinder/Riley Two-Point-Six/Wolseley 6/90
  • Austin Se7en/Morris Mini-Minor
  • Morris Mini Traveller/Austin Mini Countryman
  • Riley Elf/Wolseley Hornet
  • Austin 1100/Austin 1300/Morris 1100/Morris 1300/MG 1100/Riley Kestrel/Riley 1300/Vanden Plas Princess/Wolseley 1100
  • Austin-Healey Sprite/MG Midget

Factoriesedit

This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it

Volume car production plantsedit

  • Abingdon, Oxfordshire The MG sports car plant Closed in 1980
  • Birmingham Adderley Park Originally the main Wolseley assembly plant until 1927, then the main Morris Commercial assembly plant, latterly for vans only Closed in 1972, when van assembly transferred to nearby Common Lane
  • Birmingham Acocks Green, Rover engine and transmissions plant
  • Birmingham Castle Bromwich, Former Fisher and Ludlow body plant, acquired by BMC in 1953 Functioned as body plant for Mini and Jaguar models, employing c9,000 workers in the 1970s, Plant taken over completely by Jaguar in 1977, and became the main Jaguar assembly plant after the closure of the Browns Lane Coventry plant in 2005 The plant still employs 2000 workers
  • Birmingham Cofton Hackett, Engine plant built in 1968 adjacent to Longbridge to produce the E-Series engine for the Austin Maxi and later the Allegro Became part of Rover Powertrain following the creation of MG Rover in 2000, but was closed and demolished following the 2005 collapse
  • Birmingham Drews Lane / Common Lane Also known as the Ward End works The Plant dates from 1913 and was built by Electric & Ordnance Accessories, a subsidiary of Vickers Was then a Wolseley assembly plant until 1948, later a component plant, and in 1968 the Austin-Morris Division's transmission plant In 1972 it became BLMC's main van assembly plant Van production was suspended in 2008 and did not resume, due to the collapse of the LDV Group
  • Birmingham Garrison Street, Bordesley Green, c800 workers making Triumph components Closed
  • Birmingham Longbridge Originally the Austin plant, and at one time the largest manufacturing plant in the world The largest British car plant in the 1970s, employing c25,000 workers and famous as the home of the Mini Closed upon the collapse of MG Rover in 2005 Two thirds of the plant has now been demolished and cleared for new uses Successor Nanjing has restarted limited car assembly on a much smaller scale for the MG TF
  • Birmingham SU Carburettors Bought by Morris and established at Washwood Heath, making fuel pumps and carburettors c1300 workers Closed early 1980s
  • Birmingham Tyseley, Rover engine and transmission plant, employing c4,000 workers in the 1970s Closed mid-1980s
  • Cardiff Opened by Rover in 1964 to manufacture transmissions and axles for Rover and Land Rover vehicles Closed in November 1984, following major rationalisation of production facilities within the Austin Rover Group All facilities corresponding to Land Rover output were transferred to Solihull East Works on cessation of Rover SD1 production
  • Cowley, Oxford Formerly comprising the main Morris plant and the Pressed Steel body plant, and one of the largest British car production sites throughout the BLMC era In 1993 the original Morris plant was sold to developers and demolished, with car production being concentrated on the former Pressed Steel site which is now owned by BMW and used for assembly of the modern MINI18
  • Coventry Courthouse Green engine plant Formerly Morris Engines Ltd, closed late 1981 The original Gosford Street building is now the Coventry University Business School's William Morris Building
  • Coventry Browns Lane Originally a World War II Shadow factory, built for Daimler, which subsequently became the mMain Jaguar assembly plant Closed by Ford in 2005
  • Coventry Canley Originally owned by Standard, latterly the main Triumph car plant and the largest factory in the city Closed in 1980 Plant demolished in 1993 and sold for redevelopment
  • Coventry Radford Former Daimler plant Bus chassis assembly transferred to Leyland 1973, subsequently the Jaguar engine and axle plant Closed by Ford in the late 1990s
  • Leicester Rearsby Components plant, formerly the assembly plant for Auster Aircraft Closed by British Leyland in 1981, subject to a management buyout, passed to Adwest and closed in 2003
  • Liverpool Speke Former Hall Engineering Group car body plant purchased by Standard-Triumph in 1959 Speke No1, plus new Triumph assembly plant opened in 1970 Speke No2 No1 plant became the first major British BLMC car assembly plant to close, in 1978 No2 plant continued to produce bodies for assembly at Canley until closure in 1980
  • Llanelli Radiator and pressings plant opened in the early 1960s, employing c 4,000 workers in the 1970sNow owned by Calsonic Llanelli Radiators
  • Solihull, West Midlands The former Rover plant Became a Land Rover-only plant in 1981 when Rover SD1 production was moved to the Cowley plant Survives as a Jaguar Land Rover plant, now owned by TATA motors
  • Swindon Former Pressed Steel Company bodywork plant, now owned by BMW for manufacture of MINI body panels

Truck and bus plantsedit

  • Alcester, Warwickshire Former Maudslay plant, latterly making AEC dump trucks Sold in the early 1970s
  • Basingstoke, Hampshire Former Thornycroft plant, latterly a specialist heavy truck plant Closed in 1969
  • Bathgate, West Lothian A new plant opened by BMC in 1961 to manufacture light trucks and tractors Tractor assembly ended in 1982, following the sale to Marshall Tractors who transferred production to Gainsborough, Lincolnshire The truck assembly ceased in 1985, and the plant closed in 1986
  • Brislington, Bristol Former Bristol Commercial Vehicles bus plant, initially 25% owned, from 1969 50% owned, from 1982 100% owned Closed 1983
  • Cross Gates, Leeds Charles H Roe bus bodywork plant Closed by Leyland in 1984, but reopened in 1985 as Optare bus plant Closed in 2011 when replaced by a new factory at Sherburn-in-Elmet
  • Fallings Park, Wolverhampton Former Guy truck and bus plant Closed in 1982
  • Holyhead Road, Coventry Former Alvis plant, latterly producing military vehicles Closed by Alvis plc and demolished in 1992; site now home of Alvis Retail Park
  • Kingsbury Lane, London The Vanden Plas limousine factory, latterly used to assemble the Daimler DS420 Closed in 1979
  • Leyland, Lancashire Former Leyland Motors truck and bus plant Bus production under Volvo ownership ceased 1991 Truck manufacture continues under PACCAR ownership
  • Lillyhall Workington, Cumbria Bus plant opened 1970, initially until 1982 as a joint venture between BLMC and the National Bus Company to build the Leyland National bus Closed by Volvo 1993
  • Lowestoft, Suffolk Eastern Coach Works bus bodywork plant, initially 25% owned, from 1969 50% owned, from 1982 100% owned Closed 1986
  • Park Royal, London Park Royal Vehicles bus bodywork plant Closed 1980
  • Scotstoun, Glasgow Former Albion truck and bus plant Vehicle assembly ceased 1980, but became an axle plant Now owned by AAM
  • Southall, London Former AEC bus and truck plant Closed 1979
  • Watford, Hertfordshire Former Scammell plant building specialist heavy trucks Closed 1988

See alsoedit

  • Leyland Motors Ltd – Predecessor of BLMC, the article also describes the commercial vehicles produced by British Leyland
  • Ashok Leyland
  • Rover Group
  • MG Rover Group
  • Nationalised industries

Referencesedit

Notes
  1. ^ A Catalogue of the Papers of Leyland Motor Corporation Ltd
  2. ^ British Leyland Motor Corporation, Ltd – Britannica Online Encyclopedia
  3. ^ a b "The politics of building cars" BBC News 7 April 2005 Retrieved 27 April 2010 
  4. ^ Austin Rover Online Archived 30 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Pilkington, Alan 1996, Transforming Rover, Renewal against the Odds, 1981–94, Bristol: Bristol Academic Press, p 199, ISBN 0-9513762-3-3 
  6. ^ http://wwwaronlinecouk/blogs/concepts/concepts-and-prototypes/concepts-rover-p8p9/
  7. ^ http://civitasorguk/newblog/2013/06/was-british-leyland-really-an-industrial-policy-disaster-2/
  8. ^ BL Booklet – Graduate opportunities with British Leyland
  9. ^ "MotorWeek: Mini Go-ahead" Motor: 19 11 December 1976 
  10. ^ Michael Edwardes arrives Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ – Leyland Truck & Bus Archived 8 October 2003 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Bajaj, JL 1994-08-27 "Divesting State Ownership: A Tale of Two Companies" Economic and Political Weekly Mumbai, India: Sameeksha Trust 29 35: M-126 
  13. ^ Bajaj, p M-127
  14. ^ A resume of the origin and life of Vanden Plas, wwwvpocinfo Retrieved 11 July 2015
  15. ^ Kent, Gordon September 1983 Kennett, Pat, ed "Intertruck: Britain" TRUCK London, UK: FF Publishing Ltd: 23 
  16. ^ "Rover brand name passes to Ford" BBC 19 September 2006 
  17. ^ British Car Linage Archived 14 November 2003 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Bardsley, Gillian; Laing, Stephen Making Cars at Cowley Tempus ISBN 0-7524-3902-2 
General
  • How billions failed to fix UK's car industry CNN's European Political Editor Robin Oakley, CNN, 20 November 2008 Accessed November 2008

External linksedit

  • Model-by-model history
  • http://wwwbritish-leylandcouk/

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