THE DECLINE OF THE BRITISH MOTOR MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY BETWEEN 1970 AND 1990

4 replies [Last post]
EOO
Offline
Joined: 2012-08-12

Hello Everyone,

I am a student at The University of Wales, currently researching
into the Decline of The British Motor Manufacturing Industry and its impact on
the British Work Force between 1970 and 1990. Companies that went into
decline include British Leyland, BMC, Nuffield, Austin, Rootes,etc...

So far I have read several books on the topic but it would be of great help, if
I could hear from people who are familiar with the industry during that period.

It will be most helpful if anyone who is conversant with it can spare the time
to kindly answer a brief questionnaire on the topic and/or forward it to AS
MANY PEOPLE (WHO MAY BE AWARE
OF THE TOPIC)
 AS POSSIBLE.

Please find below, the topic and link to the online survey for the
research. 

The Topic: The impact of the Decline of the British Motor Manufacturing
Industry on Labour Employment Market between 1970 an 1990.

The Linkhttp://www.stellarsurvey.com/s.aspx?u=2A76C7E5-9C51-43C8-9FC9-2A2387F251D6&

Please if anyone has information that may be of use to this research, please
kindly reply to this post.

Thanks!

Coventry Climax
Offline
Joined: 2012-02-16

Apologies if I'm stating the obvious, but by 1970 the first four companies you mention were actually one and the same.

Nuffield merged with Austin in the early 50s to become BMC, which by the late 60s had merged with Leyland to become British Leyland. By 1990 the name had changed once more (to Austin-Rover), but it was still essentially the same company.

Chris Martin
Chris Martin's picture
Offline
Joined: 2011-08-20

Coventry Climax wrote:

Apologies if I'm stating the obvious, but by 1970 the first four companies you mention were actually one and the same.

Nuffield merged with Austin in the early 50s to become BMC, which by the late 60s had merged with Leyland to become British Leyland. By 1990 the name had changed once more (to Austin-Rover), but it was still essentially the same company.

Well it was the sad remains of those companies yes; to be followed by a slow slide into oblivion as Rover with a small sideline as MG. And the Rootes name was long gone too, via a shorter decline under Chrysler (shorter than Austin Rover's anyway) then Talbot and Peugeot, who by now are probably unaware of the history of brands like Humber, Singer and Sunbeam.

As for the workers, it could be argued with hindsight that they got exactly what they wanted, under the 'reds' guiding principle of 'if we can't have everything, then everyone will have nothing'. That would certainly apply to the parochial midlands car industry, which while being run by out of touch management, a lot of whom had been promoted above and beyond their competence, who were trying to control commies more extreme than Kruschev and his team. There was also a prevailing attitude from both sides that we are the heart of the British industry and the world will buy anything with a Austin/Morris/Humber/Triumph etc etc (take your pick) badge on it however crap.

Wrong.

That does not however account for a far slower and more sinister decline, that of both Ford in Dagenham, and Vauxhall in Luton, but that's another story, I guess you are asking from a Birmingham or Coventry perspective only. The knock-on effects must have been felt throughout the midlands, I remember when Fort Dunlop once stood proud alongside the M6, and Lucas was not always prefaced with 'The Prince Of Darkness' jokes.

I don't know how many of the original workforce you seek will be reading this, but for what it is worth I did once know someone who did his pattern-making apprenticeship at Longbridge in the early seventies and was forever proud of having worked on the 'Quartic' steering wheel of the Austin Allegro. That should say something about the mentality. 

Chris M.

 

PaulJ
Offline
Joined: 2011-06-01

I was a drawing office apprentice at Rolls-Royce (Aerospace) in the early 1970s, and once we had a trip to the Longbridge assembly lines to show us a different aspect of engineering.  The white collar employee allocated to show us around made a little joke about us 'not feeding the animals' as we walked around, then more seriously suggested that we don't make eye contact or attempt to talk to line workers as they would automatically be suspicious of us and may walk out...

Even then, as a teenager, it all seemed desperately sad and as though two armys were having a constant face-off, with us R-R apprentices tip-toeing their DMZ for a day.  With that atmosphere it's no surprise that the products of the day were usually shoddy.

Good luck with the project.

Gruffalo
Offline
Joined: 2011-07-30

Have a look at:

http://www.aronline.co.uk/blogs/

Huge amount of information, everything from development of individual models to detailing the whole sorry saga.

Excellent website by a true enthusiast.