British Leyland Cars | British Car Manufacturing | TV Eye | 1980

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This is a slightly shortened version of the original programme.
With British Leyland the producer of popular cars such as the Mini and Austin Allegro struggling to keep a foothold in the market due to a combination of foreign imports and industrial strife, ‘TV EYE’ looks at the plight of those who supply parts to British Leyland – 7000 companies with over a million jobs.
Says a union official: “If Leyland goes down the West Midlands will be an economic desert”.

First shown: 14/02/1980
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Quote: VT22424

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23 Responses

  1. The Fresh Prince of Dapto says:

    Love old mate smoking his pipe whilst assembling engines at 1:27

  2. djdrwatson says:

    Despite all that work the door locks were still crap! See this other Thames video about 1970s British car security:

  3. Horatio Jones says:

    Is anyone hearing echos of this from American car makers just before the massive bailouts (too big to fail) of 2009? Now in 2018 GM is closing plants all over North America and stopping production on 7 sedan models. We never seem to learn do we.

  4. Matthew Dawood Khaghani says:

    The unions worked hard to destroy our car industry, and gave it all to the Germans.

  5. agfagaevart says:

    How awful!
    The Metro sold thanks to Princess Di, but the rest is history…

  6. animal79thecat says:

    And yet it took another 25 years for Rover to collapse? Dont get it

  7. bbbf09 says:

    every brexiteer who thinks that the EU held back the UK economy should watch this and ponder.

  8. nudisco300 says:

    If they had gone straight to China and bought those door locks and stopped pissing around with old factories making bits and pieces then they might have made better cars and more money.

    Edwards et all were all a bit simple and didn't understand customers or customer desire. It wasn't until Sir Graham Day arrived that they finally had someone in charge who thought from the customers perspective and demanded higher quality and better marketing.

  9. Étrange Étranger says:

    Every time I see this Thames TV intro, it reminds me of Benny Hill.

  10. a b says:

    Look at the state of your product an Allegro what do you expect making shit like that

  11. McRocket says:

    Wow…that last door lock comparison was awfully telling.

  12. stigonutube says:

    11.36 good to see the Cunningham family Vanguard pressworks" still Going as a Family Business as Qutecpershore ltd if anyone is interested. their site has about US and a History page where vanguard pressworks is mentioned.

  13. michaeldd says:

    mandela this video the v and w are touching they say now this was never the logo

  14. paul broderick says:

    BL should have stuck to manufacturing buses and trucks.

  15. Peter Mc gahon says:

    What a heap of shite nothing good about great Britain bl stood for big lemon

  16. MrClingclong says:

    I remember this period well. BL nailed together some pretty dreary vehicles to be sure. The Austin-Morris range never excited anybody at any age. And cars that they made that people liked, Range Rover, Jags, Triumphs and 3.5 Rovers were assembled in a shockingly bad way. I remember a strike in 1982 when a BBC reporter was standing outside the gates at Longbridge and the workers were driving out of the car park in Datsuns, Toyotas, VW, even Fiats ! If they didn't buy the products they were making, how did they expect public to buy them? Nutters!

  17. Public Public says:

    All the management had to do was galvanise the car bodies and they would have sold like hot cakes. BL was deliberately managed into the ground so politicians could collect 'goodie points' from their friends who would profit from privatisation.

  18. King Brilliant says:

    so many reasons why BL collapsed…A horrible product with so many poor quality generic parts..You'd see the same switchgear and door handles on everything from an All-Aggro to a Scimitar and even Lotus..
    Then there was the appalling management, the stubborn unions, the crap product, the lack of innovation, the crap product, and the British class system…not to mention the crap product…just cheap and nasty and undesirable..

  19. Payam yazdi says:

    The most reliable British car is Paykan.

  20. steve lewis says:

    British Leyland….Good cars ruined by poor management, lazy workers and too powerful unions, If they were around today using modern techniques they wood be a force to be reckoned with, the Maxi was very innovative design a family sized HATCHBACK

  21. AlexGRFan97 says:

    Here's my two cents as to why BL failed as hard as it did in later years:

    Failure to consolidate brands

    In 1975, BL were making cars from 10 different marques; Austin, Morris, Rover, MG, Jaguar, Land Rover, Triumph, Leyland Trucks/Buses, Wolseley, Vanden Plas & Innocenti. They didn't need all of those companies, many of which overlapped with each other. What was their solution to this? Split them into two factions!

    Four brands, that's all they would've needed. Austin as the budget/general car company, MG as the sports marque, Rover as the luxury marque (as it always was before the 80s), and Land Rover as the off-road marque. Four distinct product lines, each with established histories. They didn't need Jaguar, could've given that to Ford long before 1989 or passed up on its purchase entirely. Morris should've finished up in the 1960s with the end of the Minor, not as late as the early 80s with the beyond-archaic Ital. Triumph should've finished with the TR7, not the badge-engineered Acclaim, with future sports cars made by MG. They could've even turned the TR7 into an "MG D" to kill the marque off sooner. Mini didn't need to be a separate marque. They didn't need to buy Innocenti. Wolseley should have finished long before 1975 when they produced a badge-engineered Princess. Same with Vanden Plas in 1980. The bus and truck businesses were both unneeded.

    Failure to introduce the Montego and Maestro on time

    Both should have been in the dealerships by late 1979 at the absolute latest. Not 1983. By that point their original designs were considered so outdated they were given a pre-production facelift. To their credit they did get the Metro out in 1980, but it was woefully under-equipped to the extent that the base model didn't even have a passenger side door mirror. It was nice the Mini stayed in production until 2000, but it was a wholly unnecessary venture that drew attention away from what was supposed to be its replacement. Each year around 50,000 were built when they could've built more Metros instead. Maybe have the Mini stay in production long enough to celebrate its 30th birthday, then pull it from showrooms at the end of 1989 considering how well of a seller it remained?

    Lack of timely successors

    This probably did BL in the most. Name any of their popular cars from start to finish and just about every single one stayed in production for far longer than they ought to have been. The Mini for one, as well as the Metro. The MG B and Midget. The Austin Allegro, Maestro and Montego. The Morris Minor, Marina and Ital. The classic Land Rover (to be fair, this one deserved it) and the Range Rover. Even at the end with the likes of the Rover 200/25 and 400/45. They made facelifts last for a generation and the cars themselves last for two generations. And whenever they designed a new car, like the Midget or the AR6, it would always get shot down.

    Attention on US market rather than Europe

    The CCV and EX-E could have been great for Austin-Rover. But they weren't, and even if they were, they still would've been concentrating on the wrong market. Catering to the US would've been a far more radical proposition than stepping up to their European rivals and taking the fight to them on the mainland.

  22. thisisbob1001 says:

    Post brexit cars to start again?

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