I have just finished reading your March, 1971 issue and was somewhat disturbed by Mr. Graham Whitehead’s (President, British Leyland Motors Inc. of America) comment that all is well with BLM and the American Scene. As an owner of a 1970 Austin America (1300) and the previous owner of a 1969 Austin America, I feel that all is not well in the States with BLM, either taken by itself or in comparison with other imported makes.
Parts do seem to be readily available, but service is deplorable. This is really unfortunate, as it could all be avoided if BLM would just bother to screen their prospective dealer applicants. A good example of optimum dealer continuity and quality is Volkswagen of America. I won’t view my opinion on whether or not the VW is or is not a good automobile, but in service, parts and facilities, they’re second to no other import. Dealerships are nearly identical in design, each being well equipped with parts and servicemen to facilitate their installation. BLM on the other hand seems quite content having its dealers choose their own building designs, its own parts inventory, number of servicemen, etc.
For example, who else would give a franchise to a man operating from a one-stall garage with no parts man, no salesman and only one serviceman? I might add this fellow in mind is aspiring to handle the full BLM line. Currently he “only” has Austin, MG, and Jaguar, but soon hopes to add Rover and Triumph. Does this not seem a little odd for a Dealership with only one serviceman, or shall I say doesn’t it seem that he (the dealer) is biting off a little more than he can chew? BLM seems quite content with this operation, however.
Mr. Whitehead’s complacency in seeing his organisation sell 70.000 automobiles last year strikes me as very odd indeed. As a contrast once more, VW of America sells hundreds of thousands of cars per year, and are never satisfied. They (VW) are continually upgrading service and availability in an attempt to make the little car more desirable, a sound move indeed. Don’t get me wrong and think I am saying that BLM of America is not upgrading their service; somewhere they must be, but it has failed to reveal itself in our area.
While I am spouting off, may I also comment on Mr. Wadlow Rose’s letter of the same issue. The sloppy quality control he speaks of on his Riley is also quite evident in the two samples of BLM workmanship I have owned, that is: incorrect ignition timing, a myriad of loose nuts and bolts, oil leaks, fluid suspension leaks, faulty fuel pump, a ruptured master cylinder (brakes), rattles, etc., etc.,
I feel it would only be fair to let you know that because of assembly defects and some questionable engineering quite common to BLM cars, British Automobiles as a whole have suffered quite a Blackened Eye. This is unfortunate as one company seems to be ruining the market for the rest of the British makes.
Hopefully, BLM will soon iron out (if they will ever become aware of them) its problems or it too may eventually go the way of our Studebaker.
Keep up the good work, telling it as it is, in a fine magazine.
Gene A. Ellingsen.
First off let me say that I enjoy each and every issue of your fine publication, and that I usually agree with about 98 per cent. of it. I must take exception however to the remarks by J.W. concerning. BLMC service on the West Coast of the USA.
I purchased new five years ago a Triumph TR4A, and have found the service to be 100 per cent. perfect. Any part I need is obtainable at the dealer at a minute’s notice or a few hours’ wait on less used items, as someone will be sent for the part at the large warehouse in San Francisco. I cannot fault the service even once, and many times I have had minor parts and adjustments made free of any charge whatsoever.
For example, a section of my fuel-line was replaced within 20 minutes and at no charge (I almost fainted on the spot). I might well add that the majority of these situations were well after the warranty was long gone. I also find that it pays to have a lube. job and oil change done by them, as they will make quite a few other adjustments that are not required. I also enjoy frequent chats with the English mechanics about various subjects such as Moss, Hawthorn, etc.
So, in conclusion, I think that it depends very much on who the dealer is, and of course I cannot speak for MG owners and others. I might also mention that I am still enjoying my TR4A to the fullest with 70,000 miles on the clock.
John C. Verser.