Just how does one contact British Leyland Motor Corporation Ltd.? Upon enquiry at the local distributors I was told that their head office was at Longbridge, Birmingham, but a letter of complaint sent there concerning two British Leyland cars which I purchased last year received no reply.
The cars in question were a Mini 1000 purchased last March, which has now been disposed of, and a Triumph GT6 Mk. III purchased in August, which I will unfortunately have to keep a little while longer. The chief complaint about the Mini was its very poor paint finish and the fact that part of the interior metal work hadn’t been sprayed at all. Regrettably, the finish of the GT6 is much worse; the whole body being covered with small dents and ripples, while in addition the rear gate has broken away from its hinges and now has to be kept in place with wire and tape. There are also mechanical troubles such as a noisy gearbox and heavy oil consumption, plus a host of minor irritations. It would seem that there must be something seriously wrong with Triumph’s inspection arrangements if a car with so many faults is allowed to leave the factory.
What is certain, however, is that there is definitely something wrong with Triumph’s customer relations, for I have been trying for months now to get them to rectify the faults under the guarantee, but letters to Coventry are either ignored or else they refuse to answer my questions or discuss the matter. They quite obviously couldn’t care less.
What Triumphs are prepared to do is to repair the rear gate, attend to the mechanics and to patch up the car by spraying bits of it here and there. This, my local garage man assures me, will make the car look second-hand and as if accident repair work had been carried out. Some faults Triumphs refuse to repair at all, and they state that if I do not accept their offer to do the work their representative has authorised within 28 days from November 1st my guarantee will become null and void, even though it still has nine months to run.
Lord Stokes described motorists who buy foreign cars as “idiots”. But in my opinion the only idiots are those ostrich-like people in the British Motor Industry who mistakenly suppose that we will put up with inferior products for ever.
Looking at the beautifully-finished foreign cars which are becoming an ever more common sight on British roads, I cannot help remembering that 20 years ago the British Motorcycle Industry led the world. Now it is gone because it couldn’t stand up to the challenge of the superior Japanese machines. Let the Coventry con-men beware that they, too, do not commit hara-kiri.
D. J. Anderson.
[Motor Sport hesitates before publishing letters of this kind, of which we now receive far too many—something to do with praising any country but one’s own, and no regular reader can accuse us of not being pro-British Britishers. But unless something happens fairly soon we shall all suffer for the sins of our Motor Industry. We are prepared to publish comment and explanations from the Industry’s PROs and hope for a reply, through these columns, to Mr. Anderson’s problems, showing that someone does care and that something is being done, even, maybe, that some customers are unduly pernickety.—Ed.]