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Aldeburgh, Suffuck.

 

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How on Earth did BMC manage to go bust?

May have been answered - simple fact they didn't make enough on each car to cover their costs properly and whats not ever really mentioned they paid out big dividends to big corporate shareholders instead of investing in the company. Think BHS Carillion etc...

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Another reason might be that they could get away with making 1950s cars in 1972 because import restrictions.

Come 1973, an armada of agents from European corporations was unleashed on every BMC dealership with blanko contracts in their briefcases.

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.....this, and the fact that whilst they stock-piled unsold Morris Minors and Farinas they were singularly unable to supply my Grandad with a manual 18/85 "S" before he got pissed off waiting and bought a P6.   When he tried to replace that, it had all gone BL and there was a strike at the radiator plant or some bollocks - he ended up with a Datsun fetish.

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Yep true - they were very badly organized - no one really got to grips with the merger and industrial relations were poor. Interesting point about the 18/85...generally the Landcrab sold a lot less than they hoped, not surprisingly if they could not supply them. But in the end it boiled down to profitability- without that major reform or new models was very inhibited. Lots of reasons and part of a long slow decline. But what a legacy there bumbling automakers left us of fantastic engineering and interesting cars. Massive creativity from Moke to Princess R and Maxi to TR7 all within 20 years.

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The cars that were made weren't poorly made. Not poorlier than others. One of the problems was that a lot wasn't made at all.

By 1973 the UK had fallen from being the number 1 industrial nation in the world to rank 5, behind the USA, West Germany, France and Japan.

The British industry as a whole developed slower than the ones in other countries after WWII - whereas it grew 3% annually from the 1950s

onward, the German and French regularly grew by 6% during the same period.

Reasons for this were the dissolution of the Empire, which caused the loss of the related trade monopolies, a certain inability to react to the

demands and conditions in markets no longer dependent, the overageing of factories and production methods and the supremacy of the unions, which hampered any healthy development. The car industry, believe it or not, was actually in a more advantageous situation than others.

Despite the considerable tariff barriers, they managed to sell 91,000 cars into the EEC in 1970 alone, although 126,000 were imported during the same period. It was hoped, that with joining the common market, these figures would be more balanced, or actually reversed.

Ford, GM (Vauxhall) and Chrysler (Rootes) were already well represented by their parent companies' equivalent subsidiary companies in Western Europe, so they didn't expect to expand their businesses. However, BL produced about 50% of all cars Made in the UK at the time and especially their massively popular mass market models of Austin and Morris enjoyed high regard not least because they were rather unconventional.

Then they suddenly decided to separate the two brands and relegate Morris to produce an utterly conventional car in direct competition with the

products of the American held companies. This didn't lack a certain logic, but only for the UK market. Elsewhere this was seen as a step back,

but BL countered with the launch of the Allegro and all seemed fine, so the cars as such actually cannot be blamed and these decisions were right.

However, each time they got something right and were ready to rake in the urgently necessary profits, they were crippled by yet another strike.

During the first five months of 1973 alone, this caused a loss in turnover of 100 million Pounds due to 150,000 cars not being delivered.

The ensuing downward spiral was caused by a combination of ever more production losses due to unreasonable demands by the unions,

customers losing faith and necessary facelifts delayed due to insufficient funds in a very critical period during which Europe was newly ordered.

In addition to this, nobody, including VW themselves, could foresee Generation Golf.

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