MG Rover dead - UK vehicle industry too?

Submitted: Saturday, Apr 16, 2005 at 06:57
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With MG Rover in administration and the loss of 6,000 jobs, the future of English vehicle industry (if any) does not look good to say the least.

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I find it astonishing that such a world force in vehicle manufacture, with a huge global market share could get everything so very very very wrong in the post WW2 years and yet a tiny country (that lost!) could get it so right. I just don't get it at all. What were the poms thinking!

As an example, here's a obituary off the top of my head and I'm sure there's a whole heap more.......
MG
Rover
Morris
Austin
Triumph
Leyland
Riley
Hillman
Wolsely
Humber
Sunbeam
Vauxhall
Talbot
Bristol
Jensen
Reliant
Bedford
Albion
Scammel
Thronycroft
Commer
AEC
Foden
Thames
BSA
Ariel
AJS
Matchless
Vincent
Brough
Norton
Royal Enfield
Scott
DMW
Velocette
Villers
JAP
Greeves
Hesketh etc......................

Now there's some great, classic machinery in that list, but that's a LOT of consumers voting with their chequebooks. What went wrong?????

Militant unionism, resistance to change, poor design, poor build quality....I don't know. Shaking my head in wonder.
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Saturday, Apr 16, 2005 at 07:52

Saturday, Apr 16, 2005 at 07:52
Vauxhall????

Very much alive!!!
Bill


I'm diagonally parked in a parallel Universe!

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Follow Up By: V8Diesel - Saturday, Apr 16, 2005 at 21:12

Saturday, Apr 16, 2005 at 21:12
True, my mistake.
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Reply By: Lone Wolf - Saturday, Apr 16, 2005 at 08:21

Saturday, Apr 16, 2005 at 08:21
Now, to add salt to the already gaping wound, I have heard the following snippet of gossip....

Ford to pull out from Land rover.

As I said, it's only a fifth hand rumour, and I have read nothing to substantiate the claim.

The claim came from a person unknown to me, but relayed it to my friendly TJM man up the road.

I've done a quick search on Google, but have found nothing.

As I said, only a rumour.

Wolfie
AnswerID: 106988

Follow Up By: Rosco - Bris. - Saturday, Apr 16, 2005 at 09:34

Saturday, Apr 16, 2005 at 09:34
How about one of each of these in your garage Wolfie ??

http://www.aulro.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=4619

;-))
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Saturday, Apr 16, 2005 at 10:04

Saturday, Apr 16, 2005 at 10:04
Rosco, what an unfriendly site indeed. Not welcoming at all as it needs a username to enter. I think I will keep away from it's exclusivity.
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John

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Follow Up By: Rosco - Bris. - Saturday, Apr 16, 2005 at 10:39

Saturday, Apr 16, 2005 at 10:39
Goodness me, to say I'm shocked and amazed is an understatement.

You wouldn't by chance have done something unusual in the past that hangs over your head?? No compromising photos involving chooks or anything ??

........... ;-))
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Saturday, Apr 16, 2005 at 12:03

Saturday, Apr 16, 2005 at 12:03
hehe probably Rosco something to do with driving one for Baz before he bought it and I now suffer pennance.
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Reply By: ROTORD - Saturday, Apr 16, 2005 at 14:21

Saturday, Apr 16, 2005 at 14:21
Hello All

Not just an English phenomenon. You could make a similar list of defunct American manufacturers .We are still in an evolving phase of the industrial revolution and rationalization of national automotive industries is near maturity and we are seeing more effects of international pressures. Why would an excellent product fail ? Probably because the company that produced it failed to compete with better run companies.Where to now ; watch Korea .Terracan looks like a good first guess.
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Follow Up By: V8Diesel - Saturday, Apr 16, 2005 at 21:11

Saturday, Apr 16, 2005 at 21:11
I beg to differ ROTORD. I don't think that any nation, including USA, would even remotely approach loosing as many numbers of 'big name' brands of vehicle manufacturing in such a brief period of time.

Try writing a list and do a comparison.

These British factories weren't small 'boutique' manufacturers, most were major players.

Big shame.
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Reply By: ROTORD - Sunday, Apr 17, 2005 at 00:52

Sunday, Apr 17, 2005 at 00:52
Hello V8Diesal

In 1927,a boom year,the number of American manufacturers declined from 108 to 44.The market had reached saturation.I havent found a list of defunct manufacturers but here is a start

AMC
BUICK
CORD
DUSENBERG
ESSEX
HUDSON
JEFERY
KAISER FRASER
LINCOLN
MERCURY
NASH
OLDSMOBILE
PACKARD
PONTIAC
STUDEBAKER
WILLYS OVERLANDER
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Follow Up By: V8Diesel - Sunday, Apr 17, 2005 at 09:42

Sunday, Apr 17, 2005 at 09:42
Rotard some interesting points there, but I'll have to counter with a few arguments (all in good spirit - not starting a fight :-)).

1927 is universally regarded as 'the great stockmarket crash' and had claimed the scalps of countless US businesses across the board, which had a domino effect. It wasn't that the consumer stopped buying a particular brand of vehicle and bought another, it was that the consumer stopped purchasing full stop. Either way, I'm focussing on the post WW2 years.

I'll discount the elite Dusenberg and Cord's as they were pre WW2 and were comparable to specialist manufacturers such as MacLaren today. These marques would have cost the equivalent of 15 times the average yearly wage.

Pontiac, Buick, Oldsmobile - all GM and still very much alive. Admittedly they all came under the multinational GM banner at one stage or another, but they have all endured and produce individual and distinctly different vehicles, ie: not just a rebadging exercise (such as Ford Maverick/Nissan Patrol) which is what counts. Try fitting a 400ci Pontiac motor in to a 400ci Chev, or putting petrol into 350ci Oldsmobile and see how far you get. Very different vehicles.

Lincoln, Mercury - all Ford and in current production and in the case of Lincoln, producing some innovative and significant vehicles.

So to compare apples with apples, lets revise the list down to......

Studebaker (too inovative for it's own good)
Willy's
Packard
Nash / Rambler (died in 1980's)
Kaiser Fraser
AMC
Hudson
and I'll add DeSoto and Indian (motorcycle) to that.

The population of the US is just under 300million and the UK is 60million. This would leave the list on a per-capita basis at roughly 2 or 3 failures for the US compared to however many I wrote in my initial post (lots) for the UK, so I think you'd be drawing a veeeerryyy long bow to suggest any other manufacturing country even came close to vaugely approaching the unparalleled disaster of the British car industry.
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Follow Up By: Wombat - Monday, Apr 18, 2005 at 13:57

Monday, Apr 18, 2005 at 13:57
"Pontiac, Buick, Oldsmobile - all GM and still very much alive." Sorry V8, Oldsmobile is very much DEAD! And you would be amazed at the parts interchangability between Olds, Chev and Pontiac, both pre-war and post-war.
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Follow Up By: V8Diesel - Monday, Apr 18, 2005 at 18:30

Monday, Apr 18, 2005 at 18:30
Wombat, I thought Olds were dead too, but they still have a company website with current m odels listed. Very confusing. I tend to agree with you though, I was sure the Olds division of GM had folded.

As someone who has worked on 455ci Olds 98 (biiiggg tank), helped put a Pontiac motor into a Holden one-tonner and researched Oldsmobile 350ci V8 diesels, I can assure you that you'd be surprised at the NON interchangeability of cross branded GM parts. I was. PITA
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Follow Up By: Wombat - Tuesday, Apr 19, 2005 at 12:58

Tuesday, Apr 19, 2005 at 12:58
V8, General Motors announced the impending closure of the Oldsmobile line of vehicles in December, 2000 and the last Olds drove off the assembly line at 10.00am on April 29, 2004. It was an Alero (VIN IG3NF52E84C243165) and the 35,229,218th Oldsmobile built since 1897.

With regard to interchangeability you will find identical components in different American manufactured marques but little, if any intercontinental cross pollination after the Australian body building company, Holden's discontinued building bodies for Chevrolet, Oldsmobile and Pontiac, in 1948.
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Follow Up By: V8Diesel - Tuesday, Apr 19, 2005 at 13:48

Tuesday, Apr 19, 2005 at 13:48
That'd make sense re: Olds as the most recent model on the website says 2004 upon closer inspection.

I can assure you with complete confidence from personal experience that all US GM parts are not interchangeable between marques. Naturally there are lots of common componentry, but there are many that aren't. Pontiac, Chev, Buick, Cadillac, Oldsmoblile etc are most certainly NOT rebadging exercises of one common vehicle. The new Pontiac GTO is a LHD Aussie Monaro for example.

Either way, my initial point was simply expressing my sincere amazement at the staggering and unparallelled ineptitiude of a massive number of individual manufacturing companies, going from world leaders, to dead and buried in 50 short years. Having had the misfortune of working on some of the Poms 70's and 80's examples of 'engineering' I think it is probably for the best anyway.
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Follow Up By: Wombat - Tuesday, Apr 19, 2005 at 14:05

Tuesday, Apr 19, 2005 at 14:05
The "unparallelled ineptitiude of a massive number of individual manufacturing companies, going from world leaders, to dead and buried in 50 short years" can be summed up in one word - CONSERVATISM. The number of businesses which are unable to adapt with their relevant environments and technologies is amazing. I see it every day!
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Follow Up By: Member - Hugh (WA) - Wednesday, Apr 20, 2005 at 23:23

Wednesday, Apr 20, 2005 at 23:23
Hi Rotard,

I notice you listed Buick.

OK currently alive under GM banner, however you must be phsycic as GM are to drop the Buick brand. I received this news via a contact within GM in the US.

Hugh
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Reply By: Blackie - Sunday, Apr 17, 2005 at 14:46

Sunday, Apr 17, 2005 at 14:46
Haven't got the source but I reckon I could find it.
Tha British vehicle industry produced more cars last year than they did in the late 70's. They may be called Toyotas or Nissans but what does that matter.
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Reply By: Member - Ray C (QLD) - Sunday, Apr 17, 2005 at 15:09

Sunday, Apr 17, 2005 at 15:09
Just remembering my younger days in the Old Dart and if my memory serves me correctly all British car manufactures had one major component supplier in common.
Lucas Electrics!!
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Follow Up By: V8Diesel - Sunday, Apr 17, 2005 at 22:51

Sunday, Apr 17, 2005 at 22:51
Lord Lucas, The Crown Prince of Darkness!
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Reply By: ROTORD - Sunday, Apr 17, 2005 at 16:36

Sunday, Apr 17, 2005 at 16:36
Hello All

I picked 1927 because it was a boom year, the stock market crashed in 1929.You are right that the English decline was greater than other countries but it can still be argued that this has more to do with when the national market reached saturation ,when the population stabilized, and how these factors relate to the same factors for tha countries being compared.For example, the French industry has had a moderate increase ,but only commensurate with population increase and,more importantly,a change in demographics after WW2 of a large peasant farmer group becoming car owners.Alist of defunct American manufacturers would be nice because as you pointed out some defunct companies lived on as models perpetuated by a take over company.Istarted to get glazed eyes when I read that after the NASH company failed ,Nash ran Chrysler which produced new model called the NASH.
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Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Sunday, Apr 17, 2005 at 21:21

Sunday, Apr 17, 2005 at 21:21
...the future of English vehicle industry (if any) does not look good to say the least.

When was it looking good?
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Follow Up By: Member - Alan- Monday, Apr 18, 2005 at 12:38

Monday, Apr 18, 2005 at 12:38
Truckster. The future of their British owned mass production industry may not look good, but they still produce many vehicles for overseas companies.
Just like Australia, it's all owned by Ford and GMH but unlike us, there are still plenty of small makers of specialist vehicles around in the UK, with full order books.
As someone who's not so prejudiced pointed out, they once had an industry which supplied the world with all types of vehicles and machinery of many other kinds and made the vehicles used in the building of the Snowy Scheme.
Look back into the not too distant past and you'll find that this country was opened up with British built equipment not that supplied by the good old US of A or Japan.
What they haven't been good at is marketing or changing the product to what the consumer wanted and there can be no excuses for that sort of incompetence.
From what I've read there's going to be an investigation into the behind the scenes area in Rover as it looks as if plenty of money was made but got paid into the pockets of those that supposedly rescued the company not many years ago.
And the workers go down the road with no entitlements!
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Follow Up By: V8Diesel - Monday, Apr 18, 2005 at 18:18

Monday, Apr 18, 2005 at 18:18
Alan, they did 'once' have an industry that supplied the world, but they don't any more which is my point.

Also, wasn't the Snowy the first job Toyota's were used on in Australia (imported by Theiss from memory)
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Monday, Apr 18, 2005 at 21:22

Monday, Apr 18, 2005 at 21:22
Thiess was the first importer of landcruisers
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Reply By: Blackie - Monday, Apr 18, 2005 at 18:33

Monday, Apr 18, 2005 at 18:33
British car production reached its peak in 1972 with 1.92 millions vehicles Last year it produced its best figures since '72 with 1.67 vehicles.
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Follow Up By: V8Diesel - Monday, Apr 18, 2005 at 19:20

Monday, Apr 18, 2005 at 19:20
Only 1,919,999.4 more to go to beat the 1972 record! ;-)

Bring back the Morris Marina and Triumph TC2000 I say! Pure class.

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Follow Up By: Blackie - Tuesday, Apr 19, 2005 at 17:12

Tuesday, Apr 19, 2005 at 17:12
Make that 1.67 million.
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