During one of my regular monthly visits to Britain, I was interested to read the article by your correspondent, J.W., concerning the American sales scene. I found this an interesting and generally balanced article but I was a little disappointed that the efforts that British Leyland is making in the USA were rather understated. I would be grateful if I could use a little of your space to tell you something about what we have achieved in the American market recently.
In the last 2 1/2 years British Leyland Motors Inc. has undertaken the reorganisation of all the selling networks for Triumph, Rover, Jaguar, Austin and MG, into two strong and profitable dealer chains.
One of the results of this, as yet incomplete, reorganisation has been a steady rise in retail sales to last year’s total of almost 70,000—the highest since the formation of the Corporation. I would point out that this was achieved in a year when we could sell everything that we could get from the factories in the UK, which were so badly affected by component strikes. Additionally MG had their best retail sales year ever with 31,058 units and they are of course the biggest selling sports car marque in the country. In general our problem in the States is not selling the cars, it is getting them and as the supply situation has been easing considerably during the last few months, I think we should have another record year if we continue as at present.
I was a little surprised at your criticism of our parts service on the West Coast as this is an area in which we have concentrated much effort recently. We have a very keen and efficient dealer organisation in that part of America, who carry a very extensive parts stock. In addition, there are warehouses to hold bulk stocks run by both distributors and ourselves and we currently aim to have 95% of all parts readily available from these stocks. It is, of course, our primary concern that customers should be able to get service and parts where and when they require them and I would be very interested to know of any specific examples of poor parts availability in that area so that we can help the people concerned right away.
Finally may I say how much I and my staff at Leonia enjoy your magazine; we have it sent regularly from the UK. Keep up the good work.
President, British Leyland Motors Inc.
Leonia, New Jersey, U.S.A.
[Any American readers’ comments will be received with interest. Ed.]