I purchased a new Ford 100E Anglia in July 1959, and 17,000 miles and almost as many troubles later, I am counting the days until the time when I can buy a “you-know-what.”
This may be the umpteenth letter you have received on these lines but I am not going to proceed with an attack on the “British Motor Manufacturer.” He can certainly be blamed for producing out of date designs but the size of the protected home market in relation to his output has enabled him to defer any ventures into the realms of flat floors, and ” flat fours ” for that matter. It is only now that the problem of selling a capacity output is really serious and I am quite sure that our symbolic figure the British manufacturer has plenty up his sleeve. The Mini is just the opening trick.
The question of quality, however, is something over which the manufacturer has only indirect control, if at all. It is a social and economic question. The manufacturer is working to a price, and, in the final analysis, all costs are labour costs. The amount of metal, etc., and the quality built into the car for this price, ultimately depends on the efforts the workers are prepared to make in exchange for their wages. I include, of course, workers in the coal, steel and component industries.
At the moment the Germans are obviously prepared to work harder than the British and the discriminating buyer will notice the difference in price/quality ratios. (This situation may not last and Motor Sport should check VW quality from time, to time).
In five or ten years the situation may be completely different. Let us hope, for all our sakes, that the smart thing to do then will be to buy an ageless British small car and to ignore Russian, German, and Chinese models on sale at the same price.
I am, Yours, etc., F. G. Popplewell. Surbiton
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Letters From Readers, November 1953
N.B. -- Opinions expressed are those of our correspondents and Motor Sport does not necessarily associate itself with them -- Ed. The Cars of Germany Sir, Very many thanks for printing…